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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in America

This article is part of a monthly series of stories that focus on cancer issues. Denver7 is proud to partner with

American Cancer Society,

Cancer Support Community,

Colorado Cancer Coalition


Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HealthONE

to gives you these stories, tips and resources.


1; Lung cancer is the leading cause of death due to cancer in America. According to

American Cancer Society

in 2019 there will be approximately 228,150 new cases of lung cancer and an estimated 142,670 deaths, with more men and women dying from lung cancer than cancer of the colon, breast and prostate together. However, the good news is that the earlier lung cancer is identified and treated, the better the risk of survival. The challenge is to find it at an early stage, which can be difficult as most lung cancers do not cause noticeable symptoms until the disease has spread to other parts of the body.

Being aware of risk factors that may predispose you to lung cancer, and knowing some common signs and symptoms of lung cancer can increase the risk of being detected at an earlier and potentially more treatable stage.

Common Risk Factors

  • Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, responsible for approximately

    80-90 percent

    of lung cancer deaths.

  • Radon a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in soil, is another cause of lung cancer, although this is relatively uncommon to contribute to an estimated 20,000 deaths in lung cancer annually.
  • Inhalation of hazardous chemicals is also linked to lung cancer. Asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and some petroleum products are particularly dangerous.
  • Another risk factor is particle pollution : inhalation of a mixture of very small solid and liquid particles such as exhaust fumes.

Keep in mind that lung cancer can still develop even if these risk factors exist. That's why recognizing symptoms is so critical.

Lung cancer signs and symptoms

Lung cancer can cause symptoms

that are linked to breathing such as:

  • A persistent or chronic cough that gets worse over time
  • Hardness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Often pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Often lung infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Have blood in the sputum when you cough

Other symptoms are more common after lung cancer has spread. These include:

  • Headache
  • Leg or back pain or cracks
  • Swelling of the neck and face
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or unarmed
  • Seizure activity, specific weakness or numbness
  • Unexplained coagulation problems resulting in heart attack or stroke

If you experience symptoms, talk to your doctor about screening tests such as a

sputum cytology

or low dose spiral CT scan. Visit our

Recommended Lung Cancer Screening

at Sarah Cannon on the HealthONE website for more information.
Further information

en Espanol

can be found


. Educational resources on treatments including


can be found here



Reducing your risk of lung cancer

Not all lung cancers can be prevented, but there are some things that can be done to reduce your risk of lung cancer:

  • One way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is not to smoke and avoid breathing in the smoke of others.
  • Reduce your exposure to radon by testing your home.
  • Avoid and limit exposure to known carcinogens.
  • Eat a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables.

For more information on reducing your risk, visit


To order a radon kit, visit


Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking is not easy and there are many resources to help people who want to quit. American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 21 is a great opportunity to start the journey towards a non-smoking life.

There are many benefits to quitting and some of these benefits, such as seeing a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, can occur 20 minutes after they stop. Other benefits of quitting smoking are to see an improvement in circulation and an increase in lung function, along with seeing the risk of some cancers (mouth, esophagus, bladder, throat) cut in half about five years after they quit.

For more information on

American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout

and how to quit, visit


or call American Cancer Society 24/7 at 1-800-227- 2345th [19659073] windows.fbAsyncInit = function () {
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