Smoking: Lung Cancer and COPD

In the United States about 15 out of every 100 people who are of legal smoking age partake in the recreational use of cigarettes or other tobacco products. Many of these people are unaware of the immediate risk this imposes on their health and lives. Another important factor to consider is that by smoking it also imposes on other’s lives. When considering smoking there are two primary diseases that are correlated with the topic; those are lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Both disease states are prevalent across the United States and have been on the rise with due to the high number of people smoking.

The number one cause of COPD in the US is cigarette smoke or smoke from another source such as cigars. COPD is caused by long time exposure of irritants to the lungs. Once again this not only affects the individual smoking but secondhand smoke will also increase the chances of a person to develop this disease state. Treatment for COPD relies on medications to relieve symptoms because at this time no therapeutic option will cure this disease state. It is a lifelong illness with severe symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, a cough with mucous, and a pursed lip breathing mannerism which is a tale-tale indication of a person with this disease. Stopping smoking will decrease the progression and complications associated with this pulmonary illness.

Lung cancer is the next big hit list item which is caused by smoking. Cancer is when cells of the body grow abnormally and the body is unable to control the progression of cell mutations. Smoking will cause your cells in your lungs to mutate and alter their physiochemical properties. The five-year survival rate is 55% in cases where the disease is found and it is still localized within the lungs. Lung cancer has the potential to spread across many organs and all over the body which decreases survival rates dramatically. Once a person has stopped smoking for ten years then the risk of getting lung cancer is half that of someone who still smokes.

November is national lung cancer awareness month so what better month to think about quitting smoking than now. It is just in time for the holidays and you will have plenty of support to help you along the way. Making the first step is considering the option to quit. There are multiple healthcare professionals who are also knowledgeable and willing to help someone along their way in making this life-changing decision. The easiest option would more than likely be the local pharmacist who knows about different options to help an individual on your journey. Pharmacist can be there to educate about the benefits of quitting and to educate on the varieties of nicotine replacement options to make it easier for someone to quit. Many insurance companies will also provide support and allow individuals to have therapy products covered by them. Bring the awareness is the first step, taking action is next.


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