Greater Awareness Necessary for Lung Cancer Diagnosis in Women

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As we head into Lung Cancer Awareness Month this November, a recent study has confirmed what many people may not realize—lung cancer is the largest cancer killer in women. And while over 106,000 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and 72,000 will lose their battle with the disease, a disturbing 98 percent of women do not even think about lung cancer when considering risks to their health and well-being. Neglecting the possibility of being diagnosed with lung cancer may also contribute to its high mortality rate.

The alarming information was released by The American Lung Association, which recently completed its annual Women’s Lung Health Barometer report. It also showed that less than 20 percent of women are diagnosed in the early stages of lung cancer when it is the most treatable. In fact, those who are diagnosed before the cancer spreads see their probability of survival more than triple. On the other end of the spectrum, a staggering 85 percent of people do not see their doctor until they are in the later stages of lung cancer when it has affected other organs. This, unfortunately, contributes to 400 people a day dying from the disease.

Lung cancer is typically associated with smoking, and while tobacco is the cause of the majority of lung cancer cases, the truth is that anyone can be affected by lung cancer. Up to 24,000 of the deaths attributed to lung cancer every year are in people who never smoked. For women, not only do those at high risk not speak to their doctor about lung cancer, but more than 60 percent believe lung cancer has the same survival rate as other cancers, or are unsure of the death toll associated with the disease. The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is actually one of the lowest of all types of cancer.

A failure to diagnose or misdiagnosed lung cancer can occur since early symptoms are thought to be difficult to identify. Some in the medical community feel this can change, along with the chance of raising the survival rate, if more funding is allocated towards research and treatment options. While close to a quarter of a million Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, the disease barely ranks in the top ten for funding. Meanwhile, lung cancer accounts for close to 27 percent of all cancer deaths in the country according to the American Cancer Society. It kills more men than prostate cancer, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer, and more women than breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, and uterine cancer.

With such frightening statistics, men and women both need to pay attention to their bodies and know the risks involved with lung cancer. If a medical professional makes an error in your diagnosis, it could cost you your life. If you or someone you love has suffered due to a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose lung cancer, please call the skilled and compassionate medical malpractice team at Finz & Finz, P.C., today.