Houston County Ranks Number One in Lung Cancer Related Deaths in the Wiregrass

By: Gina Pitisci Email
By: Gina Pitisci Email

Houston County Ranks Number one in lung cancer related deaths in the Wiregrass. Local doctors are making an effort to reduce that number by educating the community on prevention and awareness.

According to Dr. Mark Dosmann, a Radiation Oncologist at Southeast Alabama Medical Center, "on average you lose more than 10 years of life from smoking." Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the United States. 178,000 women die each year from smoking related diseases. That is equivalent to a 9-11 tragedy every week.. Dosmann says that ninety percent of the risk for lung cancer is smoking...ninety percent. If we could eliminate smoking, we could eliminate ninety percent of all lung cancers.

Detecting lung cancer early can be difficult since currently there is not a successful screening process like there is for other types of cancers. Flowers Hospital Pulmonology Specialist, Dr. Allen Latimer says that "the lungs there aren't pain fibers so the symptoms are very subtle. Often times when we find the cancer, it's because it's more advanced or it's spread somewhere else."

There are different options for treating lung cancer which should be based on factors such as your overall health and the type and stage of your cancer. Latimer says "there are some lung cancers that the therapy even early on is chemotherapy or radiation, there's some lung cancers that the best therapy is surgical therapy."

For those of you who are trying to quit, Southeast Alabama Medical Center has a program they are offering called Smoking Cessation. According to Wendy Press, a Pulmonary Rehab Coordinator at SAMC, "we try to teach them to get away from some of the things that are triggers for them to start smoking." David Plunkett smoked three and a half packs of cigarettes a day and quit in 1986 because he said "he just didn't feel good." He said what worked for him was "to quit cold turkey."

There is no sure way to prevent lung cancer, but according to doctors, you can significantly reduce your risk by not smoking.

For more information on the Smoking Cessation classes contact Wendy Press at (334) 793-8025


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