Lung cancer



For the foreseeable future more lives will be saved by prevention of lung cancer by reducing the prevalence of cigarette smoking than will be cured by current therapy be it surgical, radiation or chemo-therapeutic. Prevention is of paramount importance because most lung cancers present with advanced disease and only 5% of all lung cancers are cured by current therapy. On the other side of the equation, lung cancer is a completely preventable cancer.

Nicotine is a physically and psychologically addictive drug. Most smokers are hooked in their teenage years. Therefore prevention campaigns need to be directed at early teenagers. Education programs need to be designed in such a way that the children of smokers who have learned by observation of their parents that smoking is normal and has no harmful effects can learn the true dangers of smoking before they too become addicted. In addition the idea that smoking can keep you thin needs to be combated particularly in young girls. Concentrating on health problems which may develop in middle age has little effect on teenagers who think that 21 is old!

Legislation has already started to reduce exposure to other carcinogens especially asbestos, air pollution and ionising radiation but governments have been slow to legislate for a reduction in the promotion and availability of tobacco products.