Lung Cancer Still Oklahoma's Number 1 Killer

Thursday, November 22nd 2007, 12:51 pm
By: News On 6

A new report does not shine a very good light on health in Oklahoman. The report says Oklahomans are fat, smoke too much and eat poorly compared to the rest of the country. As News On 6 reporter Melissa Maynarich reports, its part of this unhealthy behavior that makes lung cancer Oklahoma's number one cancer killer.

Oklahoman’s bad habits are turning deadly. According to the 2007 State of the State Health report, life expectancy in Oklahoma is two years less than the national average. And smoking is one of those habits for Oklahoman's that is hard to shake.

“Ninety % of lung cancer relates to cigarette smoking. Either directly or indirectly. Even indirectly if a person lives in the household of a smoker they have a 20-30% higher risk for lung cancer,” said Oncologist Dr. Mike Keefer.

Joyce Weir's risk was high because she was a smoker. She quit seven years ago, and still was recently diagnosed with lung cancer.

“About three weeks ago I got shortness of breath and cough and I couldn't cough up anything,” said Joyce Weir.

Joyce is visiting her oncologist now and just began chemotherapy to try and get rid of the cancer. She is hopeful.

“Of course, I know I’m going to lose my hair. That's always replaceable isn't it? As long as you can get your health okay,” said Joyce Weir.

Two-thousand-five hundred and 60 people in the state are currently living with lung cancer. In addition, Dr. Mike Keefer says lung cancer remains Oklahoma's number one cancer killer.

“When you diagnose it in the later stages the chance of living 5 years is considerably less. Maybe less than 10%,” said Dr. Mike Keefer.

So, the doctor says, the sooner you stop those unhealthy habits, the better.

The American Cancer Society reports, just 20 minutes after quitting smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drops. And only 2 to 3 weeks after quitting, circulation improves and your lung function increases.