12 February 2007

Lung Cancer in Non-Smokers

Isn't it ironic that non-smoking women are more likely than men to have lung cancer?
Writing in Friday's issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Wakelee and epidemiologist Ellen Chang said they tracked the incidence of lung cancer in more than 1 million people aged 40 to 79. All had taken part in various studies of diet, lifestyle and disease, some going back into the early 1970s.

Some groups were mostly white women, such as an ongoing nurse's study, while others included ethnically diverse groups, Wakelee said.

Among women who never smoked, the lung cancer incidence rate ranged from 14.4 per 100,000 women per year to 20.8 cases per 100,000. In men, it ranged from 4.8 to 13.7 per 100,000. Rates were about 10 to 30 times higher in smokers.

This would translate to about 20 percent of female lung cancer patients having been nonsmokers and 8 percent of males, they said. That compares with American Cancer Society estimates of about 10 percent to 15 percent for all lung cancer patients.

[SOURCE: Reuters, 09 Feb 2007 ]

I think it is not only ironic, but unfair, too. If smokers want to smoke, let them be. In this day and age, I think they are well-informed already of the association between smoking and lung cancer. But to force nonsmokers to inhale their disease-causing smoke is not only rude, I think it ought to be a crime. Why should non-smokers share in a risk they never wanted in the first place?

I've seen it several times --- insensitive smokers puffing like chimneys in public places, unmindful of the poison they are spreading. Another irony I observe is that in the Philippines, we already have a law banning smoking in public places. No one enforces it seriously because...guess what? Yes, most police officers are smokers, too.

Passive smoking seems to be killing more women than men according to the study cited above. But when will the health authorities do something about it?

5 reactions:

ipanema said...

It's sad to note this recent study. It's like a punishment for something one didn't do.

I hope the study I linked during our discussion on the Philippine's RA 9211, is true. It says that those non-smokers with lung cancer have better survival and better to chemotherapy.

ruth said...

if you feel so strongly about smokers "forcing" their fate on non-smokers, ako ang ipinanggigigil ko yung parents who smoke in the presence of their kids. masamang ehemplo na, mandadamay pa.

Dr. Emer said...

IPANEMA: It is a true punishment. But why go through all the trouble of having lung cancer and undergoing chemotherapy when we can probably develop some sensitivity to smokers by penalizing them when they smoke in non-smoking areas? Candidates easily pay and show their TV ads during campaign periods. Why not do the same for a no smoking campaign? Let's face it, there is really no commitment to stop smoking here. The law is treated like a joke.

RUTH: How about doctors who smoke and who tell their patients to stop smoking? Isn't there some form of irony there, too? :-)

BatJay said...

somebody should make a study on the effect of passive smoking. i bet the incidence of illness relating to this is high in the philippines.

one of the ways to make people stop what they are doing is to show that they will die as a result. but then again, smokers have a hard time realizing this because it is so addictive.

Anonymous said...

I have been working in Emerald Ave, Ortigas and I must say, the two years work there made me acquire/develop pneumonitis... ALL BECAUSE OF SECOND-HAND SMOKE. Compared to Makati City, Ortigas is worse. And of all the streets I've seen, Emerald Ave. has the MOST NUMBER OF SMOKERS, especially during lunch break. To demonstrate my anger to them in my own little way, I would usually cover my nose whenever I encounter smokers having a "session".

I'm very much into veggies/fruits and healthy living but I think with the scenario mostly of call center agents smoking in the streets and even in the comfort rooms SHOULD NOT BE PERMITTED.

Now my greatest concern is where to address my issues regarding smokers. I would not want to share in the way they want to waste their life and how to kill their bodies.

I am now searching for a nationwide association or advocate with the primary objective of clearing Philippine air of cigarette smoke. Suggestions would be appreciated.