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5 Lung Cancer Myths Debunked

Conyers, Ga. (Nov. 23, 2020) – Lung cancer causes more deaths than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined, according to the American Cancer Society. Yet, few are aware of the disease that is second only to heart disease as the largest killer in the United States. Chandar Bhimani, M.D., medical oncologist at Piedmont Rockdale, debunks a number of myths about lung cancer.

1)   Myth: Lung cancer only affects men. Lung cancer kills almost twice as many women as any other cancer. In fact, on average a woman dies every 8 minutes in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association. Significantly, lung cancer diagnoses have more than doubled in women over the past 30 years, highlighting the need to devote greater attention toward treating lung cancers.

2)   Myth: If you don’t smoke, you won’t get lung cancer. Lung cancer doesn’t discriminate. Smokers are at greater risk for developing lung cancer but non-smokers are not immune to the disease. There are a number of risk factors that put non-smokers at risk including exposure to secondhand smoke, radon, carcinogens and environmental pollution. According to the Lung Cancer Alliance, more than 17 percent of men and women with lung cancer have never smoked.

3)   Myth: Lung cancer isn’t treatable. There are treatment options for lung cancer, especially if it is caught early and contained within the lungs. Depending on the stage of cancer, treatment can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and targeted therapies. In recent years, the 5-year survival rate for early-stage lung cancer has increased to 60 percent.

4)   Myth: Since fewer people smoke, lung cancer isn’t as big of a health threat. Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world. Here in the U.S., the American Cancer Society estimates there will be 228,820 new cases of lung cancer this year alone.

5)   Myth: Lung cancer only affects older adults. While more than 80 percent of those living with lung cancer are over the age of 60, studies show that the rate of lung cancer in young, non-smoking women is on the rise and has been for the past few years.

Dr. Bhimani is a board-certified hematologist and medical oncologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and blood disorders. His special interests include treatment for breast, lung, colon, prostate, lymphoma and all other cancers. His office is conveniently located on the campus of Piedmont Rockdale Hospital.

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