The Cause and the Long Delayed Effect

Smoking and lung cancer: since there may be a latency of between 18 and 30 years between initiation of smoking and onset of lung cancer, it's always been tough to correlate that one cigarette with any dire consequences. and face it, who with lung cancer do you have to discuss this with, basically, with a survival rate at 5 years of under 16%, not many are hanging around to say, "hey kid, don't do what I did".  Why so dismal, most experts will tell you it's because we diagnose the lung cancers in such advanced stages. The other explanation that I want to postulate is that smoking ruins one's immune system and that the cancer gets aggressive very fast once it forms in a smoker's body. Whatever the reason most early detection efforts have failed. Tests that don't improve life expectancy in the group they are used are not typically worth their expense. For lung cancer doing x rays every 6 months or checking for cancer cells in the sputum are two screening tests that haven't shown that it's a worthwhile test. One chest x ray may be worthwhile as a screen however and that testing strategy is being looked at.

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