Lung cancer leads to cancer-related deaths in Utah, and the community is working to reduce stigma

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 15 men and 1 in 17 women They have a chance of getting lung cancer. Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Utah. (Made in Canva by Megan Brugger)

Lung cancer is Leadership The cause of cancer-related deaths in Utah and the United States, which make up approx 25% Of all cancer deaths nationwide.

To put this in perspective, more people die from lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancer combined. On average, there is a 1 in 15 chance that men will develop the disease, with a 1 in 17 chance for women. These statistics include both smokers and non-smokers, although those who smoke have a higher chance of developing cancer.

Lung cancer in Utah: the facts

to me Information system based on the Utah Public Health Index90% of lung cancer-related deaths are caused by smoking. Public health programs are designed to reduce these opportunities, including the Utah Statewide Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. This program aims to prevent young people from starting to use tobacco, help tobacco users quit smoking, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke and reduce disparities related to tobacco.

While cigarette smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, it is not the only factor that leads to the disease. Other causes include occupational or environmental exposure to secondhand smoke, radon, asbestos among smokers, certain organic chemicals, radiation, air pollution, a medical history of tuberculosis, or certain metals – including chromium, cadmium, or arsenic. Genetics also plays a role, especially in young adults who develop the disease.

In addition, the Utah Department of Health I have embarked on Cancer Action Network of Utah To reduce the burdens that cancer brings. UCAN’s goal is to reduce cancer incidence and mortality in Utah through prevention and control.

Lung cancer can be difficult to detect, as symptoms usually don’t appear until the disease is advanced.

according to American Cancer SocietyPeople diagnosed with lung cancer are usually 65 or older. The average age at diagnosis is 70, and it is rare for someone under 45 to develop the disease.

Lung cancer rates Utah I stayed consistent Since 2000, an average of 24.98 cases per 100,000 people. Black or African American residents of Utah have a higher chance of developing lung cancer, with an average of 58.5 cases per 100,000 people.

In Utah County, lung cancer is being diagnosed an average 16.1 cases per 100,000 people. In Tri County, Diagnostics an average 38.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Lung cancer in Utah: personal impact

Utah resident Alvin George Nichols died of lung cancer when he was 75 years old. He had idiopathic lung cancer, which means there are no traceable causes for the disease.

His grandson, UVU student Jason Thompson, said Nichols had never smoked, had no exposure to secondhand smoke, and, as far as he knew, had never been around cancer-causing chemicals.

“The doctors really had no idea how he got it,” Thompson said.

However, Nichols’ doctors suspected he had the disease a year before he was diagnosed. He passed away two and a half weeks later.

Thompson continues to be inspired by his grandfather, saying that his grandfather hasn’t changed in the weeks since his diagnosis. “He always lived in the moment and never left things unsaid,” said Thompson. “When his time came, he didn’t feel the need to apologize or work things out for people and was able to just be himself.”

Although Thompson was young when his grandfather died, his legacy lives on through him and his family.

“He inspired me to live life and just be me,” said Thompson.

the Huntsman Cancer Institute It is a designated cancer research facility of the National Cancer Institute and a hospital located in Salt Lake City. It is the only one of its kind in the Intermountain West.

Kristi Mears of Utah County was diagnosed with kidney cancer in July, and breast cancer most recently. She received treatment at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and credited them for their work with her.

“They are so kind and they have everything together. I mean they know exactly what needs to be done and who you need to see and what appointments you need to make,” Mears said.

When Merz was receiving treatment for kidney cancer, she said doctors found “a little spot in her lung.” They determined the place was natural and the doctors told her it was indeed common due to pollution.

Mears’ doctor told her that “most people have something in their lungs from pollution and what’s in the air these days”.

Mears’ parents both had cancer, so the doctors at Huntsman asked her to take genetic testing, which she says the institute is too big for her to do.

“It’s very big on genetic testing because that can also help with the treatment process,” she said.

Before her diagnosis, Mears recalled hearing a lot about cancer and feeling anxious—and feeling it would be in the back of her mind in her future. When she was diagnosed, she felt relieved and was ready to deal with it.

She feels confident and believes in the way cancer treatments are going as scientists make positive progress.

University of British Columbia graduate student Amanda Ritter’s grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, and passed away from the disease in 2012.

Her grandmother, Kathy Egan, was a native of Sandy, Utah and a beloved member of the community.

When Egan went for an MRI on her shoulder, doctors found a spot in her lungs that was later determined to be lung cancer. She began four years of therapy, but managed it well, according to Ritter.

In 2012 the cancer spread to her liver and she died a few weeks later.

It was a big prom that week, Ritter recalled, which ended up being a bittersweet moment between her and Egan.

“It was one of the only things my grandmother physically interacted with and smiled at at the end—she found out I was at prom and having a good night,” Ritter said.

She continued, “Knowing that this made her happy was a really nice thing.”

Egan wasn’t a smoker, and he never was.

“That was exactly where the cancer was in her body,” Ritter said.

It’s important to spread awareness about lung cancer, Ritter said, because it’s not always associated with smoking. She recalled that her grandmother worried that people “would think she was a different person than she was” after her diagnosis, because of the stigma associated with the disease.

“My grandmother was the purest and healthiest person,” she said. “People need to reduce the stigma surrounding lung cancer more than anything else.”

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