Busting 9 Myths About Lung Cancer

Busting 9 Myths About Lung Cancer - Large

Let’s clear the air! What you don’t know about lung cancer could hurt you. Learn the truth about this number one cancer killer that takes the lives of nearly 160,000 Americans annually.

MYTH: Only smokers get lung cancer.
TRUTH: “Smoking is definitely the number one risk factor,” says Steven Chambers, MD, of Pulmonary and Critical Care Consultants in Dayton, Ohio. “But 20 percent of the women who get lung cancer have never smoked.”

MYTH: I stopped smoking years ago. I don’t have to worry about lung cancer.
TRUTH: The majority of women who get lung cancer are ex-smokers.

Early detection is the best hope. People in Stage 1 lung cancer have a 75 to 85 percent cure rate.

MYTH: Breast cancer is deadlier than lung cancer.
TRUTH: Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer among women (and men, too). While more women get breast cancer than lung cancer, lung cancer has a high mortality rate.

MYTH: Lung cancer is a death sentence.Busting 9 Myths About Lung Cancer - In Content
TRUTH: Lung cancer often has no symptoms in the early stages, so the majority of women are diagnosed at an advanced stage beyond which a cure is possible. But treatments can extend life expectancy.

MYTH: My lungs don’t hurt. I don’t need to be screened.
TRUTH: “Lung cancer is sneaky and silent,” says Dr. Chambers. “If you’re in a high risk group, have an unusual cough or are coughing up blood, or have substantial weight loss that can’t be explained, consider being screened for lung cancer. Early detection is the best hope. People in Stage 1 lung cancer have a 75 to 85 percent cure rate.” 

MYTH: If I do have lung cancer, there’s no reason to quit smoking.
TRUTH: Quitting smoking even after a diagnosis is still the best thing you can do.

MYTH: Surgery for lung cancer will cause it to spread.
TRUTH: Surprisingly, a sizable group of women believe that exposing lung cancer to air causes it to spread. “There is no proof that surgery causes lung cancer to spread,” says Dr. Chambers. “For many women, surgery is their best chance of survival.”

MYTH: Antioxidants will protect me from getting lung cancer.
TRUTH: “Antioxidants will not prevent a person from getting lung cancer,” says Dr. Chambers.

MYTH: Beside stopping smoking (or never starting), there’s nothing I can do to reduce my risk of lung cancer.
TRUTH: Limiting your exposure to diesel exhausts and air pollution lowers your risk. Testing your home for radon is another good idea. “Plus, good data show that regular exercise reduces the risk of lung cancer,” says Dr. Chambers.

Steven Chambers, MD

Steven Chambers, MD

View Profile View Articles
Small Steps: Bring a friend.
When you meet with your doctor to talk treatment options, bring a friend or family member. Your supporter can take notes, ask questions or just be there for you.