American Cancer Society Reminds Women Who Smoke - Lung Cancer More Deadly Than Breast Cancer
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- If you ask most people what cancer is the leading killer of women, they likely will say breast cancer. Surprisingly, they'd be wrong. Lung cancer now leads as the number one cause of cancer death in women. The American
Fortunately, most cases of lung cancer can be prevented. Smoking is the most important risk factor for developing lung cancer, accounting for eight out of ten cases. Experts also warn that women need to be aware of their lung cancer risk, since they may be especially vulnerable to developing the disease.
"Women are particularly susceptible to lung cancer because of the hormone estrogen," said Sandra Norman, Ph.D., president of the American Cancer Society, Pennsylvania Division. "In fact, women who smoke develop lung cancer at 1.5 times the rate of men who smoke. With this in mind, I urge my female patients who smoke to quit immediately. It's the single most important thing they can do right now to prolong their lives."
For women who are ready to kick the smoking habit, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and American Cancer Society offer a free smoking cessation program for state residents. The Pennsylvania Free Quitline (1-877-724-1090) is a telephone counseling service where trained professionals coach callers through the process of quitting smoking in the privacy and convenience of their own home. In addition to the five 20- to 45-minute telephone counseling sessions, callers receive a series of informational brochures that address the unique challenges of quitting. They also receive referrals to education and support services in their local community.
"My children begged me for years to quit smoking because they were afraid it would kill me," said Pennsylvania resident Lori Yacabitis. "When I finally decided that smoking wasn't worth risking my health and hurting my family, I turned to Quitline."
"Quitline made it impossible for me not to quit," Mrs. Yacabitis continued. "For every excuse I could think of to continue smoking, my Quitline counselor had an answer. In addition, the information brochures provided me with strategies to get through the tough times when cravings were overwhelming."
Quitting smoking at any age can help save a person's life. If a person stops smoking before lung cancer develops, the lung tissue slowly returns to normal, lowering the risk of developing lung cancer.
Women also should not discount tobacco's link to other cancers, including breast. According to the American Cancer Society, more research is needed to determine whether tobacco smoke puts women at greater risk for developing breast cancer, but some experts say there is a connection. According to one study, tobacco use within five years of a woman beginning her period appears to increase her risk of developing breast cancer before menopause - a cause for concern given most women who smoke begin prior to age 18.
"The link between smoking and breast cancer is unclear," said Dr. Norman, "but when it comes to your health, why risk it? I tell patients who are concerned about breast cancer to get an annual mammogram, increase their physical activity and, if they smoke, quit smoking."
The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.