According to Empowered News , there will be approximately 159,000 deaths in the United States this year caused by cancer. Fortunately, a study has found that this number will include fewer lung cancer deaths, especially among women in the United States. While this information alone is good news, and interesting, many people will want to know what has prompted this change for the better, and still others will want to know how we can keep the momentum going downhill for lung cancer deaths.
What has Changed?
The main thing that has changed is the acknowledgement that cigarette smoking is dangerous to our health. Tens of thousands of people, if not millions, have successfully kicked the habit to protect their health, or the health of those that they love. Those who did not quit for health reasons almost certainly quit for financial reasons. Simply put, we are simply learning to take better care of ourselves, and our first step in doing so is usually to kick bad, harmful habits.
According to information obtained from the New York Times , this change in our overall behavior has resulted in a decrease in lung cancer deaths at a rate of approximately one percent each year from 2003 to 2007. Due to better health care and practices, lung cancer in women has been declining since 1998. Unfortunately, lung cancer is still the number one cancer related cause of death for men and women at this time, but with this new information, we are hopeful that a drastic change is on the horizon.
While it is believed that the fall back from tobacco usage should get the largest share of the credit for the decrease, there are other factors that are not accurately accounted for. With the Internet, we have access to better health information that we can apply to our personal lives, including information concerning nutrition, and particularly nutrition that can help to reduce the risk of all types of cancers. Additionally, more people are ‘going green,’ which could also contribute to the decrease as fewer people are using harsh chemicals around their homes, and making genuine efforts to reduce air pollution. Most studies, however, still only focus on the link between tobacco and lung cancer, as well as other types of cancers.
Lung cancer death rates are also dropping for men. In fact, the death rate from lung cancer for men has been dropping for a longer period of time than it has for women. Scientists believe that this is largely due to the fact that men started smoking before women did, and most likely either died or kicked the habit earlier. According to the Center for Disease Control , the decrease for men with lung cancer has been steadily dropping since 1973 – long before we were completely aware of how dangerous cigarette smoking is.
Between the time periods from 1973 to 1983, while the lung cancer death rate was dropping for men, it was rising for women. This is a period when more women started smoking than ever before in history. From 2003 to 2007, however, the death rate from lung cancer for women dropped by 0.9% each year.
Will the Decrease Continue or Stall?
Experts agree that the decline will continue, which is great news for everybody. Not only are long time smokers realizing more and more that they are literally decreasing their life expectancy every time they light up, but fewer young people are picking up the nicotine habit thanks to vast amounts of education on the subject and stricter laws governing the sale of tobacco products.
What is not reported, however, is how much of a decrease we can expect over time. The results are only published every five years, since it takes that long to get an accurate picture of the situation, and the benefits of people starting to take better care of their health. The numbers that we now have are the result of women who quit smoking five years ago or more. As more women quit, and as fewer young women pick up the habit, we will likely see an increase in the decrease of lung cancer deaths among both men and women as time continues to pass.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information , the numbers that reflect a decrease could sharply drop off due to the fact that the baby boomer generation is so large, and other generations are much smaller in terms of number of people who are still living. This, of course, will not change the fact that lung cancer deaths are decreasing – but on paper, it certainly may look like the decrease isn’t as good as we would like it to be, even though it really is.
Hopefully, despite what the numbers may look like on paper in the future, we can eventually wipe out lung cancer deaths altogether, enabling our society, as a whole, to focus our attention, time, and funds on other types of cancers and diseases that cause early deaths.