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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
February 18, 2013
Tobacco, Lung Cancer and Communities of Color
We know that using tobacco products increases the risk of having major health issues, and we know that using health scare tactics are not effective in preventing tobacco use. If that were the case, everyone would have quit smoking back in the 1960s when the first surgeon general’s report determined that smoking causes lung cancer. While not everyone who smokes will get lung disease, most lung disease is caused by smoking.
Since February is Black History Month, I’m highlighting a report that the American Lung Association produced as part of its Disparities in Lung Health series: Too Many Cases, Too Many Deaths: Lung Cancer in African Americans. Not all African Americans who smoke will get lung cancer, but everyone should be aware of these facts that come from the report:
- African Americans suffer from lung cancer more than any other population group in the United States. They are more likely to get the disease and more likely to die from it.
- African American men in particular are at increased risk; they are 37 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than white men, even though their overall exposure to cigarette smoke is lower.
To put these facts in perspective, it’s important to know that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States. It has been the leading cause of cancer death among men since the early 1950s and, in 1987, it surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women.
If you are living with lung cancer or have questions about the disease, visit the American Lung Association’s new lung cancer-focused website, Facing Lung Cancer: Support from Day One. The website includes an interactive video library where you can hear experts talk about lung cancer topics. One particularly relevant video is Clearing the Air, an ask-the-expert program where Dr. William Hicks (a retired clinical oncologist) addresses common myths and misperceptions surrounding lung cancer, many of which are related to smoking or quitting smoking.
Another great resource for those living with lung cancer or any other lung disease is the Lung HelpLine. You can participate in a live chat or call 1-800-LUNGUSA (586-4872) from 8:00 a.m. until midnight Eastern Time, daily, to speak with a registered nurse or respiratory therapist. This service is free of charge. The American Lung Association also partners with Emerging Med to offer the lung cancer clinical trial matching service. This is also free of charge.
This week, focus on the benefits of quitting. Improved health is one major benefit, but others include:
- saving money
- no longer being addicted to nicotine—gaining self-control!
- smelling fresh, not like an ashtray
- decreasing the risk of fire
- setting a better example for the little ones in your life
Tell me about the best benefits you have experienced by becoming smokefree on the Message Boards this week.
I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
Don’t forget: If you're in the Premium program and want help fast on the Message Boards, put "HELP NOW" in the subject line of your post. If you're looking to offer help, watch for those, "HELP NOW" posts and alert your other FFS Online buddies to offer some assistance as well.