by Giroux on March 16, 2015 - 9:00pm

In ″Decline in smoking rates could increase deaths from lung cancer″, an article from CNN wrote by Sandee LaMotte on February 24, 2015, a study made by the Mayo Clinic and grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging in the US and published in the February 24, 2015 issue of JAMA is terrifying.

It is important to note that lung cancer screening is recommended to people age 55 to 80 who smoked one pack a day for 30 years and people who are currently smoking or people who had stop smoking for more than 15 years.

During the study period, the number of people with lung cancer who had smoke one pack a day for 30 years has declined while the number of people with lung cancer who had quit smoking for at least 15 years has increased.

According to Dr. Ping Yang an epidemiologist, the reason why it happened is that with the awareness campaigns to quit smoking, "smokers quit earlier and stay off cigarettes longer [so] fewer are eligible for CT screening, which has been proven effective in saving lives". Therefore, people with lung cancer are diagnosed at a later stage when no treatments is able to cure it anymore.

In terms of percentage, from 1984 to 1990, 56.8% of people were eligible for lung cancer screening while from 2005 to 2011, 43.3% were eligible.

*Note: ″The Mayo study did not take into account other risk factors for lung cancer, such as personal and family history for lung cancer or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary

Disease (COPD) because they are not in the current guidelines for reimbursement.″
The study has the ultimate goal to show that everybody should be eligible for lung cancer screening starting at the age of 55. Also, it insists on the fact that every smoker should be eligible for lung cancer screening even if they quit and no matter for how long they quit since they all have increased risks to have lung cancer which I really agree with.

Even if the lung cancer screening should be available for everybody, smokers are the most at risk to die from lung cancer. Therefore, I think a solution to decrease the number of people dying from lung cancer is to continue awareness campaigns about smoking since it has been proven that it significantly helped decreasing the percentage of smokers from 50% in 1965 to 17.5% in 2009 (http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB0QF...). Eventually, we will get to a totally non-smoking population and the risks to die from lung cancer will decrease.

In the US, the American Lung Association (http://www.lung.org/) is working on the issue in many ways, but especially by lending their voice, giving their time, organizing life-changing sporting and sharing people’s stories. All of these are done to ″Fight for Air″. One of their main purpose is to organize awareness campaigns all over the country to encourage people to stop smoking or to never start smoking.

In Montreal, there is the Canadian Cancer Society you can reach by e-mail at webmestre@quebec.cancer.ca or by phone at 514 255-5151 for volunteering opportunities to do support and information campaigns and cancer prevention and health promotion to reduce the percentage of smokers who represent 85% of the 30% patients with lung cancer in Canada. For more information you can go on the organization website http://www.cancer.ca/en/?region=qc&Val=E.

If you want to read the original article from CNN you can go on http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/24/health/lung-cancer-screening/index.html.


Good article. I like that there is plenty of stats to backup the main idea and put the issue into perspective. Since my grandfather died of lung cancer, this article really does resonate with me and surprise me at the same time. I had no idea that there was a procedure and regulations as to who is eligible for screening. This presents an ethical dilemma of resources versus morality. I completely agree that all smokers should be able to get screenings. I also believe that the age should be before 55 years old because cancer has a habit of being present years before symptoms manifest. I understand that the resources required to process that many screenings (provided everyone in the population could get one) would be enormous but as with the ideology of rationalism that states morals maxims are determined by reason, it would seem the rational choice to make sure everyone is cancer free and not to exclude certain people for not fitting within a predefined box of requirements. Although I also do agree that smokers are most at risk for lung cancer, it is still just as important that non smokers be able to be screened as well because these smokers throughout their 30 or so years of smoking have probably introduced family members or friends to second hand smoke which is also known to be cancerous.

I enjoyed reading your article. In fact, I was not aware that not everybody is available for lung cancer screening in the US before reading this post. I also found it interesting that you included a link to the Canadian Cancer Society located in Montreal.

However, I find your title very misleading. At a first glance, your title seems to suggest that it has been proven that one should not quit smoking since quitting smoking increases lung cancer. It is only after looking at your entire post that the reader knows that it is not the act of quitting smoking that increases the risks of lung cancer, but the fact that people who have quit smoking earlier in their lives are not eligible for lung cancer screening anymore. Consequently, they are diagnosed for lung cancer very late when the cancer has gotten impossible to treat anymore.

I agree with the fact that everybody should be eligible for lung cancer screening starting at age 55 (including the ones who quit smoking earlier in their lives), but I think that the screening should be available at earlier ages. This is a moral dilemma (a conflict in which you choose between actions and have moral reasons for choosing an action) because an authority is giving some people the chance of getting screened for cancer (43.3% in 2011), and some others, not the chance to get screened. The screening age should be lowered(around 35 years old) because it could take many years before one can see the effects of cancer even though the tumor has formed much earlier in their lives. In fact, a tumor forms when an accumulation of mutations occurs on the DNA of a cell. Smoking can cause lung cancer because some chemicals in it, such as benzene and polonium-210, cause mutations in the DNA (more information at http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/healthyliving/smoking-and-ca...). It is important to point out that smoking does not directly cause cancer, but increases the risks, since some mutations of DNA are not problematic, and the cell activity is not affected.
Also, another reason why everyone should be screened for lung cancer is because people who do not smoke are also exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. In fact, if one has a colleague who smokes at work or a family member who smokes their risk of lung cancer increases by around a quarter in the UK (more facts on http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/healthyliving/smoking-and-ca...).

Overall, your post was very interesting, and I hope that I was able to give you some constructive comments.

This article is very interesting and informative to me. I was not aware that certain criteria had to be met for someone to be eligible for lung cancer screening. This article brings up the fact that smoking could increase your chances of cancer survival because smokers receive better health treatment than non-smokers or people who quit smoking. This raises an ethical issue an forces one to ask; Is it fair that smokers get better treatment than non-smokers or people who quit smoking? Personally, I agree that smokers should be able to get regular lung screening given that they are more at risk of developing lung cancer, but I do not think that they should be prioritized over people who do not smoke. I think everyone should be able to get lung cancer screening of they wish to, without people having to smoke in order to receive this medical treatment. I absolutely agree that one way to decrease death due to lung cancer is to keep reinforcing awareness towards the damages caused by smoking, but I also think that everyone deserves to have the chance to get lung screening, and that privileging people who are deliberately harming themselves is not a good solution.