MDCH Recognizes May 14-20 As National Women's Health Week

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112

May 19, 2006

In recognition of National Women's Health Week, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) urges the awareness and prevention of lung cancer.

"Every Michigan resident who smokes or is regularly exposed to second-hand smoke at home or work is at risk for developing lung cancer," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. "MDCH continually supports local communities in their efforts to educate about secondhand smoke and to create smokefree worksites."

Lung cancer is a leading killer of Michigan women, killing more of our mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends than breast and cervical cancers combined. Michigan women are most often diagnosed with lung cancer at age 50 years and older. Direct smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. It is estimated that one of every four Michigan women smoke. Many of these women will become victims of lung cancer and will die prematurely as a result.

Recent research indicates that the effects of tobacco use seem far more damaging to women than to men and many women are not aware that lung cancer in non-smokers can be caused by chronic exposure to secondhand smoke. Non-smoking spouses of smokers have a 30 percent greater risk of developing lung cancer than do spouses of non-smokers.

Increase in age, family history of lung cancer and exposure to asbestos, radon, arsenic, nickel, chromium, silica, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the workplace or at home are other risk factors for developing lung cancer.

Symptoms of lung cancer include a cough that does not go away, unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite, chest pain (often made worse by deep breathing), shortness of breath, hoarseness, wheezing, blood or rust-colored sputum, and recurring infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

Most insurance plans, including Medicaid, provide nicotine replacement therapy at reduced or no cost.

If you or someone you know smokes, please call the Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-480-QUIT (7848) or order a free Quit Kits at: www.hpclearinghouse.org or www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2940_3182_22973-16771--,00.html. The Michigan Department of Community Health's website, www.michigan.gov/tobacco, also provides helpful information regarding smoking cessation. For more information on lung health or lung cancer, please visit www.lungusa.org or www.cancer.org.