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Lung Cancer: What You Need to Know

1. Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death among men and women. According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, accounting for 1.37 million deaths annually. Cancer accounted for 7.6 million deaths annually, or about 13 percent of the total worldwide deaths.

2. In a study conducted on 2002, it was said that in the Philippines, cancer is the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Leading cancer sites/types are lung, breast, cervix, liver, colon and rectum, prostate, stomach, oral cavity, ovary and leukemia.

3. In 1987, it surpassed breast cancer to become the leading cause of cancer deaths in women. It causes more deaths than the next three most common cancers combined (colon, breast and pancreatic).

4. In the Philippines, 75 percent of all cancers occur after age 50 years, and only about 3 percent occur at age 14 years and below.

5. Smoking, a main cause of small cell and non-small cell lung cancer, contributes to 80 percent and 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in women and men, respectively. On the other hand, Nonsmokers have a 20-30 percent greater chance of developing lung cancer if they are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work.

6. In the Philippines, lung cancer is the leading form of cancer and this is attributed to high smoking rates, particularly among men. The Philippines now stands as having the most number of smokers in Southeast Asia, with an estimated 17.3 million tobacco consumers.

7. According to the Department of Health, a Filipino smoker puffs 1,073 cigarette sticks annually while other smokers in the Southeast Asian region consume less than a thousand sticks yearly. Ten Filipinos die every hour because of smoking, representing a clear picture of the extent of the tobacco epidemic in the country.

8. It has been estimated that active smoking is responsible for close to 90 percent of lung cancer cases; radon causes 10 percent, occupational exposures to carcinogens account for approximately 9 to 15 percent and outdoor air pollution 1 to 2 percent (Alberg AJ, Samet JM, 2002).

9. According to the latest WHO data published in April 2011, lung cancers deaths in Philippines reached 8,518 or 2.02 percent of total deaths. Among the 192 countries, Philippines ranked as the country with most numbers of people who have lung cancer.

10. Lung cancer has a poor 5-year survival rate of only 15 percent.

To know more about the cancer incidence and mortality in the Philippines, visit World Health Organization's page (Globocan 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012).