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Of the men and women who die of cancer every year, lung cancer is the most common form. Although the numbers will not be final until after the fact, the American Cancer Society has estimated that there will be approximately 165,000 deaths from lung cancer in 2012. They have also estimated that there will be 223,500 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in 2012.
What makes this type of cancer so tragic is the fact that it was rare before the 1930s. The cause of its dramatic increase was the increase in popularity of smoking. Even though awareness regarding the dangers of smoking is rising, in men this is still the most common type of cancer and the fifth most common type of cancer in women, ranking higher than breast cancer.
Types of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer most often starts in the walls of the airways that lead to the lungs. These bronchi are made of a spongy substance that is pink and grey in color. If the tumor does not develop here, there have also been at least 20 types of lung cancers discovered which start in the lungs themselves. The two main types of lung cancer are small-cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of non-small cell lung cancer that begins in the central bronchi.
Approximately 30% of cases of lung cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and commonly occurs as the result of smoking. This type of cancer is easier to treat because it tends to stay localized in the lungs. Another type of non-small cell lung cancer is adenocarcinoma. It is estimated that 40% of lung cancer cases are adenocarcinoma and is more commonly seen in women.
Small cell lung cancer, the other common type of lung cancer is much more aggressive. What makes this type of cancer so dangerous is the rapidity at which it can spread. It may only take 90 days for it to spread, often before any symptoms have been felt by the victim. In 75% of victims who suffer from this type of cancer, the cancer has already spread by the time a doctor has been able to diagnose it. It can spread to the brain, the bones, and the liver and usually the victim is not able to survive it for long. This type of cancer, however, is treatable by chemotherapy so it is crucial that it is detected early so that treatment can begin.
Causes of Lung Cancer
What are the causes of lung cancer and how can it be prevented? It is no secret that smoking can lead to lung cancer. Not everyone, however, is aware of the fact that 85% of cases of lung cancer were caused by smoking. Lung cancer also can run in certain families. If a person has a family history of lung cancer, they will run a higher risk of getting this type of cancer. Some people are more sensitive to the cancer-causing substances in smoke and are therefore more likely to develop it. Regardless of family history, those who smoke are 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who do not smoke. There is, however, good news. When an individual is able to give up smoking, the risk of developing lung cancer does drop. A fact to remember is that those who are exposed to second-hand smoke (others who smoke) have a 30% increased risk of developing lung cancer. Studies show that approximately 3,000 people die every year because they were around second-hand smoke.
Contact a New York medical malpractice lawyer today!
Lung cancer is a serious issue and needs to be viewed as such by doctors and medical staff. If they are shown to be at all negligent in their treatment of the patient, a medical malpractice claim could be filed against them. One possible type of malpractice is misdiagnosis. There are several different ways a doctor could seek to test for lung cancer. An x-ray could show if there is an abnormality, but it is not 100% accurate. A CT scan or MRI will be able to more accurately show if there are any tumors in the lungs, so it is important that the doctor continues to administer tests until they are sure what the patient is suffering from. Timely diagnosis leads to timely treatment, just another reason why medical professionals need to do everything in their power to help their patients.
If you or a loved one were the victim of medical malpractice in a case of lung cancer, please get in touch with our team at the Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein, PC. We have over 60 years of experience in these types of cancer cases so call today!