American Lung Association Expert On Risk: ‘All You Need Are Lungs To Get Lung Cancer’

When you hear the words “lung cancer,” cigarette smoking may automatically register in your mind since the topics of lung cancer and smoking are quite synonymous with each other. While cigarette smoking is the leading cause of this disease, the truth is, no one is immune from lung cancer.

With November being Lung Cancer Awareness Month, it’s no better time than now to consider your lung health. BlackDoctor.org spoke with Dr. David Cooke of the American Lung Association, to discuss the importance of getting screened for lung cancer and how conveniently simple it is to go through the process.

One out of every four cancer deaths are from lung cancer, making it the deadliest cancer among both men and women that kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. American Cancer Society estimates that within this year, there are 222,500 new cases of lung cancer and roughly 155,870 deaths from lung cancer.

For both smokers and non-smokers, the chances of a man developing lung cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 14, while for a woman, it’s 1 in 17. However, African-American men are about 20% more likely to develop lung cancer than white men and that rate is about 10% lower in African-American women than in white women.

“There’s a higher incidence of lung cancer in the African American community compared to other communities such as White, Asian-American and Hispanic communities,” Cooke said. Although lung cancer is higher in certain demographics and smokers have an increased chance of getting lung cancer than non-smokers, every one should get checked for lung cancer.

“All you need are lungs to get lung cancer,” Cooke said.

While everyone is at risk to develop lung cancer, there are individuals who have the highest risk of getting the disease.