The link between smoking and cancer has been recognized for decades. The team at Roper St Francis discusses cancer and how to prevent it.
Last week JAMA published results of a recent study by American Cancer Society researchers that, once again, lights up the deadly risks of cigarette smoking. More than 25% of all cancer deaths in the United States are caused by smoking, the researchers found. And here in the South, where tobacco has a long history and where tobacco is cheaper and less controlled by policies and programs, that rate is closer to 40% of all cancer deaths.
The study looked at 2014 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data on smoking rates combined with research on the risks for 12 smoking-related cancers to determine an estimated number of cancer deaths that can be attributed to smoking. The study included only data on adults older than 35, and it evaluated results by state, gender and race.
For 2014, here’s what they found:
- More than 167,000 cancer deaths were caused by smoking
- This represents 29 percent of cancer deaths overall.
- The results varied relative to geography, with the South being the biggest danger zone. The 10 highest ranking states were all in the South. Utah had the lowest smoking-associated cancer mortality (16.6 percent) and Kentucky one of the highest (34 percent).
South Carolina, like many of our neighbor states, has a long history with tobacco, and smoking here is prevalent, helped along by cheap cigarette prices and some of the least restrictive indoor-smoking regulations and tobacco-control policies. Smoking is also more highly correlated with poor and rural areas, of which we have plenty in the Palmetto State.
But the good news is that Roper St. Francis offers one of the best ways to screen for lung cancer and catch it early when it is most treatable. If you have a history of smoking, you may be a candidate for CT Lung Screening.
You are a candidate for this potentially life-saving lung cancer screening if you are:
- A healthy adult age 55-80
- Have a history of smoking for 30 pack years or more (Number of packs per day X years of smoking = pack years)
- Or are a current smoker or has quit no more than 15 years ago.
If you or someone you know meets this criteria and is at risk of lung cancer, please call (843) 402-5000 to ask about our CT Lung Screening. And also, for your own health and the good of all South Carolinians, please quit smoking!