Magazine article USA TODAY

Nonsmokers Are Also at Risk

Magazine article USA TODAY

Nonsmokers Are Also at Risk

Article excerpt

Although cigarette smokers make up the overwhelming majority of lung cancer victims, nonsmokers should be aware of signs of the potentially deadly malady as well. "Although fewer than 15% of lung cancer cases occur in persons who aren't and weren't smokers, the disease can strike anyone," warns Kent Adler, assistant professor of medicine, Stanford University Medical Center.

Common warning signs are a change in a cough, difficulty in breathing, chest pains, or coughing up small amounts of blood. "Usually, these signs are not cancer. Most often, they represent a cold, flu, bronchitis, or other relatively mild illness. The crucial test is if these symptoms persist for more than two or three weeks despite proper rest and treatment. If so, then be sure to let your caregiver know so that you can be more closely examined."

When lung cancer is discovered early, the cure rate can be as high as 70-80%, and new treatments--such as innovative combinations of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation--are expanding the outlook for survival. …

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