Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) February 24, 2010
Texas' deadliest cancer is also one of the most preventable. In 2010, Texas Cancer Registry estimates 10,625 Texans will die of lung cancer, which each year kills more people than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. With nearly 9 out of 10 of all lung cancer deaths in the United States attributed to tobacco use, physicians at Texas Oncology are committed to helping more Texans understand how to reduce their risks for the disease.
The number of lung cancer deaths among women has increased more rapidly than among men, and the number of women dying each year from lung cancer surpassed breast cancer in 1987. Despite the clear link between lung cancer and tobacco, an estimated 19 percent of Texans continue to smoke.
"Lung cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, trailing only heart disease. It kills more people than stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and accidents," said Dr. Kartik Konduri, medical oncologist at Texas Oncology-Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. "Because so many Texans die of lung cancer each year, it is crucial that everyone take steps to reduce their risk."
While the causes of lung cancer are not fully understood, Dr. Konduri said not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke are some of the most effective ways to reduce risk for this disease. He urges smokers looking to quit to call the Texas Smoking Cessation Hotline at 1-877-937-7848. For a list of smoking cessation facts and tips, click here.
"A big reason lung cancer is one of the world's most fatal diseases is that there is currently no reliable screening test," Konduri said. "By the time it is diagnosed, the cancer has usually spread, making treatments much less effective. Only 15 percent of all lung cancer patients survive five years."
Screening and New Treatments
Some ongoing studies offer hope in detecting lung cancer earlier and in finding new treatments. In the largest scale study of smokers in the United States, a National Cancer Institute (NCI) trial currently underway is examining two potential lung cancer screening methods: CT scan and chest X-ray. The widely anticipated study results are expected in late 2010.
Researchers have broken ground on how genetics may affect lung cancer. Mutations in the Epidermal Growth Factor (EGFR) gene are implicated in the causation of 10 to 15 percent of lung cancer cases in the United States. Another defective gene, called anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), has been linked to 3 to 5 percent of lung cancer cases. ALK inhibitors, a new therapy currently in trials, could change the clinical approach to treatment by targeting and suppressing the abnormal genes.
Texas Oncology currently has 11 ongoing lung cancer clinical trials at more than 40 sites in Texas that aim to find new cancer prevention and treatment options. For information on these clinical trials, visit Texas Oncology's clinical trials page.
Secondhand Smoke Exposure
Exposure to secondhand smoke increases risk for lung cancer and other health problems, especially for children. Secondhand smoke has been linked to asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and sudden infant death syndrome.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), secondhand smoke increases lung cancer risk in nonsmokers 20 to 30 percent. With help from smoking bans and other restrictions enacted across the United States, CDC research shows that exposure to secondhand smoke is declining.
Smoking bans are known to decrease secondhand smoke exposure, which has been linked to lung cancer and heart disease risk. About 37 percent of Texas residents are covered by smoking bans. For a list of smoking bans enacted in Texas, click here. For a map with information on Texas' municipal comprehensive smoking bans and a look at lung cancer incidence and death rates, click here.
About Texas Oncology
Texas Oncology delivers high-quality cancer care with leading-edge technology and advanced treatment and therapy options available to help patients achieve "More breakthroughs. More victories." ® in their fights against cancer, right in their own communities. Texas Oncology, a pioneer in community-based cancer care, is an independent oncology practice with sites of service throughout Texas and southeastern New Mexico.
Texas Oncology patients have the opportunity to take part in some of the most promising clinical trials in the nation for a broad range of cancers. Texas Oncology, through its affiliation with the US Oncology Research network, has played a role in the development of 36 cancer-fighting drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Texas Oncology is United in Healing with US Oncology, which supports the nation's foremost cancer treatment and research network advancing the quality of cancer care in America. With more than 1,211 physicians at 456 locations in 39 states, the US Oncology network and Texas Oncology provide cancer patients with access to the latest developments in therapies, technology, and clinical research, as well as best-in-class practices to improve the patient experience. For more information, visit http://www.UnitedinHealing.com, or visit the company's Web site, http://www.USOncology.com.
For more information, visit http://www.TexasOncology.com or call 1-888-864-I CAN (4226).