Thousands of Americans Die from Lung Cancer Every Year

Second hand smoke contains at least 250 poisonous or cancer causing chemicals. It can be a health threat, even for non-smokers. But people who smoke are still the most likely to get lung cancer.

Dr. Sidney Roberts said, "There are about 180,000 new cases of lung cancer every year in the United States, but probably 3,000 or less can be contributed to second hand smoke. And in our local area, 98 percent of our lung cancer cases are in smokers."

Less than 10 percent of lung cancer patients are non-smokers. They're exposed to second hand smoke at home, work, and public places.

"There may be certain environmental risk factors; exposure to say, asbestos, for people who worked in shipyards or other types of chemicals."

Lung cancer is rarely caught early. In fact, it's usually not detected until is spreads throughout the body, causing other health problems.

Dr. Roberts said, "We may not be able to catch it early, but we can prevent it if people simply would not smoke, stop smoking if they do, or just never start."

While there is no way to stop all smokers from lighting up, many cities, including Lufkin, now have a smoking ordinance to separate them from non-smokers. Restaurants have to designate a self-contained smoking area or make the entire facility a non-smoking establishment.

There are not many tests available to check for lung cancer, so it's difficult for doctors to diagnose the disease in its early stage. It's also hard to detect early because there are usually no symptoms.