Lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among American men and women and the leading cause of cancer death. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates 169,400 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. and 154,900 will die from it.
The most important risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, which is believed to contribute to 87 percent of the cancers. The more cigarettes smoked/day and the longer a person smokes, the greater the risk for developing the disease. Cigar and pipe smokers are also at increased risk for lung cancer.
The second leading cause of lung cancer is exposure to radon, a colorless, odorless gas formed as a byproduct of decaying radium. The gas can seep into homes through cracks in the foundation, pipes, drains, or openings in the wall. About 12 percent of all lung cancer deaths are believed to be caused by exposure to radon.
Exposure to environmental contaminants also increases the risk for developing lung cancer. People who have worked with asbestos are about seven times more likely than the general population to die from lung cancer. Smokers who have been exposed to asbestos fibers have a 50 to 90 times greater risk for developing the cancer.
Some other hazardous contaminants include uranium, arsenic, and certain petroleum products. Lung cancer doesn't usually cause any early symptoms, so many cases aren't diagnosed until the disease is well advanced. Some possible signs include: persistent cough, shortness of breath or chest pain with deep breathing, loss of appetite and/or weight loss, hoarseness, recurring lung infections, wheezing, coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum, and fever of unknown cause.
Preventing Lung Cancer?
Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center are studying whether the drug, CELEBREX® (celecoxib), can reduce the risk of lung cancer. CELEBREX is an anti-inflammatory medication sometimes used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In the body, the drug inhibits the action of COX-2, an enzyme which plays a role in development of inflammation and pain. Animal research suggests CELEBREX may prevent the growth of lung cancer.
Now, doctors want to find out if the drug will be helpful for humans. Investigators are looking for active smokers 45 and older who are at risk for developing lung cancer. In the short-term study, participants will receive CELEBREX for six months and be followed with several imaging tests, called fluorescent bronchoscopy, which monitor the airways for changes in response to the drug.
Currently, the study is only being offered at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center. For information, call (888) 798-0719 and ask for the Jonsson Cancer Center, or check out the information online at http://www.cancer.mednet.ucla.edu .
Currently, the study is only being offered at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center.