15 Myths About Lung Cancer You Need to Stop Believing

10. Switching to e-cigarettes after you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer is fine

Doctor is comparing electronic vaporizer and conventional tobacco cigarette

Electronic cigarettes are all the rage, so it makes sense for smokers to make the switch if they’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer. While e-cigarettes may not be nearly as harmful as smoking tobacco, you should still aim to quit the habit altogether. Everyday Health explains you could still be inhaling carcinogens that can hurt your lungs. Not only that, but many e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, which is addictive.

Next: Your family lineage matters. 

11. Your ethnic background doesn’t impact your lung cancer risk

mixed race couple going for a hike

When it comes to cancer rates, racial and ethnic backgrounds do matter. The American Lung Association explains black men and women are more likely to develop lung cancer — and they also have a higher chance of dying from it — than any other group.

Black men are 30% more likely to get the disease than white men, even though generally their exposure to cigarette smoke is lower. Black women and white women lung cancer incidences are roughly the same, though black women are less likely to smoke than white women.

Next: Women need to pay attention to this one.

12. Breast cancer is a bigger killer for women than lung cancer

Breast cancer self-check

You hear all about breast cancer awareness, but you also need to pay attention to lung cancer if you’re a woman. Everyday Health reiterates that lung cancer kills more women yearly than breast cancer does. And more people actually die of lung cancer than they do of breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined.

There are more women who are diagnosed with breast cancer yearly than lung cancer, however, which may cause some confusion. But because breast cancer is often caught earlier than lung, fewer deaths occur.

Next: Here’s the sad reality of treating lung cancer.

13. Most people diagnosed with this cancer go through years of treatment

Cancer patient with therapy dog

You’ve most likely heard of some folks with cancer going through chemotherapy and other treatments for years. And while there are plenty of treatment options for lung cancer, the five-year survival rate is quite low at just 18.6%, according to the American Lung Association. Additionally, over half of those diagnosed will die within a year.

There is good news for those who can catch cancer before it spreads, however. For those who treat it early on in the lungs, their five-year survival rate is 56%.

Next: This common symptom isn’t always present. 

14. You’ll always have a cough as a symptom

Middle-aged businessman suffering chest pains
There are plenty of obvious symptoms of lung cancer, and a cough is one of them. But Cancer Treatment Centers of America notes there are sometimes no signs of an issue at all. You may also experience other symptoms that have nothing to do with a cough, like breathing difficulties, loss of appetite, fatigue, or infections that keep returning. And during the more advanced stages of lung cancer, it’s more common to experience facial swelling, lumps in the neck, or bone pain.

Next: Think you should get screened for lung cancer? Make sure you read this.

15. You should consider getting screened for lung cancer no matter who you are

Cancer images

There are plenty of preventive measures you can take for cancer, and one of them is getting screened. But unless cancer runs in your family, you’re over a certain age, or you’re a smoker, it might actually be more harmful than helpful. The CDC explains lung cancer screenings come with risks of their own. False-positive results can happen, as can overdiagnosis and excessive radiation exposure from the tests.

If you have a history of heavy smoking or you’re between the ages of 55 and 80, then feel free to request a test. Otherwise, it may be wise to hold off.

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