2006 Lung Cancer Stats for California – Good News or Bad?

2006 Lung Cancer Stats for California – Good News or Bad?

The California Cancer Registry and the American Cancer

Society have just released a new booklet “California Cancer

Facts and Figures, 2006″. For those of you living in California

with any form of cancer, I urge you to get this informative


For this report, I will just be focusing on the stats for Lung

Cancer in California. California is a leader in tobacco tax

initiatives. Following the cancer trends in California will

determine what measures the rest of the country must take to

decline the lung cancer rates overall.

Good News! – Basically

Basically, the news is very good. From the period of 1988 –

2002, all types of incidences of cancer in California went

down by 12%. Cancer mortality declined by 19%. Thanks to

Proposition 99 – the California tobacco control initiative

passed in 1988, tobacco-related cancers severely declined,

much more than any other state. Tobacco-related cancers

include cancers of the lung, larynx, mouth, pancreas,

stomach and bladder. However, lung cancer nevertheless causes

more deaths than any other cancer.

What About New situations?

Out of all Californians alive today, about 15 million will ultimately get some form of cancer, that is about two in five.

Over the years, cancer will strike around three out of every

four families. This year alone, there will be more than 15 new

situations diagnosed every hour of every day. For men, of all the

new situations diagnosed, 13% of them will have lung cancer.

For women, that number is 12%.

Tobacco-Related Cancers

Presently, about 85% of lung cancer is caused by cigarette

smoking. However, many other cancers are caused by

tobacco in addition. Overall, one of every three cancer deaths is

due to tobacco. The incidence of lung cancer decreased by

26% in the time period mentioned above. Needless to say, for

those smokers who have quit smoking, your chances of

getting lung cancer decreases over time. After 15 years, the

risk is only slightly higher than among people who have

never smoked.

Secondhand Smoke

I think we all know by now that secondhand smoke has been

determined to cause cancer in humans. But did you know that

every year in the U.S., about 3,000 non-smoking adults die of

lung cancer directly as a consequence of secondhand smoke? The

most recent high-profile example is Dana Reeve, wife of

Christopher Reeve. It is believed she may have contracted it

from secondhand smoke as a consequence of her years as an

entertainer in music clubs.

Secondhand smoke is particularly unhealthy to children. The

good news is in 2004, more than 80% of California

households with children younger than 5 completely stopped

smoking in the home.

upsetting Smoking Trends

Given that lung cancer rates in California have dropped

considerably, it would be logical to assume that the smoking

rates have also dropped, wouldn’t it? And in fact they have,

among most adults and teenagers. In 2004, 15% of California

adults nevertheless smoked.

The upsetting trend is the increase in 18-24 year old smokers.

They are the fastest growing rate of smokers in California and

the tobacco companies are targeting them as the “smokers of

the future”. The smoking rate for 18-24 year olds was 18% in


What Can Be Done?

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in California. All

cancers caused by tobacco and heavy use of alcohol can be

prevented completely. In 2006, 18,000 Californians will die

because of tobacco use.

Early diagnosis can save lives by identifying cancer when it is

in the curable stage. The five year survival rate for most

cancers is very good if it’s caught early. Unfortunately, the

statistics for lung cancer are not so good, mostly because it is

difficult to diagnose early enough.

The California tobacco control initiative has helped to put a

dent in the lung cancer rate. Californians need to stay

informed and aware. More cigarette tax legislation is on the


To get your copy of the California Facts & Figures 2006, go to:


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