MDCH Observes November as National Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Contact: James McCurtis Jr. (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

November 6, 2009

November 2009 marks National Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is proud to participate in the national effort to raise public awareness about this disease.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in Michigan and the United States and is expected to claim the lives of 159,390 Americans this year alone. In Michigan, an estimated 8,190 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year with an estimated 5,840 dying of the disease.

During 2006, a total of 7,603 Michigan men and women were diagnosed with lung cancer. In 2007, 5,910 Michiganders died of the disease. Michigan ranks 19th in the nation in lung cancer deaths and 32 states have lower rates. Tobacco smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer.

"Tobacco use accounts for 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 87 percent of all lung cancer deaths," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. "The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke and to live and work in smoke-free environments."

Approximately 24 percent of Michigan men and 19 percent of Michigan women smoke cigarettes. Michigan residents more likely to smoke are those with lower-income households, lower education levels, and younger ages.

Non-smokers who breathe secondhand smoke also have an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Each year, about 3,000 non-smoking adults in the United States die of lung cancer as a result of breathing secondhand smoke.

To help raise awareness about smoking cessation, the American Cancer Society has scheduled its 33rd annual Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19 to encourage smokers to quit for a day in hopes that some will quit for a lifetime.

Tips to quit smoking so you can reduce your risk of cancer:

1. Pick the date you are committing to quit and mark it on your calendar.

2. Tell friends and family about your Quit Day and ask for help and support on your decision to quit.

3. Throw away all the cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car, and place of work.

4. Stock up on oral substitutes - sugarless gum, carrot sticks, and/or hard candy.

5. Decide on a plan. Will you use gums, patches or other medicines? Will you attend a stop-smoking class? If so, sign up now. 6. Go to www.michigan.gov/tobacco for help and support. The MDCH Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, continues to provide free telephone counseling to Michigan Medicaid, Medicare and uninsured residents. The Quitline has enrolled 27,384 Michigan residents since Oct. 22, 2003.