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Lung Cancer Rates Are Down In The U.S. But Doctors Still Want You To Get Annual Screenings

With vaping making all health headlines within the past year, it seems as though Americans are experiencing a large lung injury epidemic. However, according to a recent study published by the American Lung Association, lung cancer rates have decreased substantially within the past decade here in the United States. 

Specifically, the rate of new lung cancer cases in the U.S, has dropped 19% within the past ten years and the five year survival rate with the disease has increased 26%! While these numbers are quite incredible, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer related death as well, a title it’s unfortunately almost always held. In general the American Lung Association reported that between 2012 and 2016, there was an average of 60 lung cancer cases per 100,000 people. The numbers overall varied state by state, Utah holds the lowest rate with an average of 27 people, while Kentucky holds the highest rate with 96 people per 100,000. The same goes for the percentage of survival rates in each state; the lowest being 16.8% in Alabama, and the highest being 26.4% survival in Connecticut, according to the report.

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The best chance at surviving this vicious cancer is to detect it early on, which unfortunately doesn’t happen to often. In fact, in the state by state data the highest rate of early detection for new lung cancer cases is only 28.1% in Wyoming; the lowest being 16.6% in Alaska. 

“Most cases are only caught at a very late stage. You don’t get symptoms until it’s very late and it’s very developed. If you get diagnosed at an early stage, which very few people are, the tumor’s often limited, it hasn’t spread and at that point, you’re often eligible for surgery where they can cut it out and it’s essentially curative. The difference between an early diagnosis and a late diagnosis is about a five times higher survival rate,” said Zach Jump, national director for epidemiology and statistics at the American Lung Association.

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The biggest take away the American Lung Association wants to convey to readers with their annual reports is that yearly lung cancer screening are at the minimum the best way to prevent yourself from becoming a part of any of these statistics. This is especially true for those with a higher risk for the disease, whether that means genetically, or if you’re a dedicated smoker. However, the reality is that many individuals don’t ever get screened because of the assumption that they’re completely healthy. This is especially true for those at the highest of risks. The ALA’s report states that the screening rates for adults considered to be “high risk” is only 4.2% nationally!

The ALA wants Americans to know that there really is no harm in just getting screened. You don’t want to become just a number on an annual report, you want to be an actual human being who lives out the rest of their lives happy and healthy, so don’t be afraid to go get screened. 

“The report found that lung cancer rates for every measure vary significantly by state, and that every state can do more to defeat lung cancer, such as increasing the rate of screening among those at high risk, addressing disparities in receipt of treatment, decreasing exposure to radon and secondhand smoke and eliminating tobacco use. This report provides unique information for state officials, policymakers, researchers and those affected by lung cancer and emphasizes the need for resources and action to decrease the toll of lung cancer across the country,”  researchers wrote in the report.

Marijuana Joint

Marijuana Use Linked with Heart Problems and Increased Risk of Stroke

Marijuana has long been one of the world’s most frequently used recreational drugs, and the public perceives the drug to be relatively safe, leading to its legalization in several US states as well as Canada. However, due in large part to its federal classification as a schedule I substance, available research on the health effects of the drug is limited, as scientists have long had severely restricted access to the substance. As its use continues to develop across multiple demographics, however, scientists are escalating their research of marijuana and its effects. It’s long been understood that marijuana use during adolescence can lead to lifelong psychological problems, including problems with memory and diminished IQ. However, recent research is uncovering marijuana’s negative effects on other parts of the body including the lungs, and surprisingly, the heart.

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Marijuana is well-known for causing among its effects changes in heart rhythm. As the drug’s effects are felt for roughly three hours when smoked, these changes are temporary, and heart function returns to normal after the drug wears off. However, arrhythmia experienced during marijuana use can cause greater circulatory problems afterwards, particularly in heavy users. As such, sufferers of cannabis use disorder, who use the drug frequently and compulsively, are at increased risk of being hospitalized for arrhythmia. Though arrhythmia, a condition in which the heart’s rhythm is disturbed and irregular, is often benign, it can also lead to life-threatening complications. Lower doses of marijuana are associated with a too-fast heartbeat, whereas higher doses are linked with a too-slow heartbeat. The concern about the link between arrhythmia and marijuana use is particularly strong for young people, who in the study were shown to have the greatest risk of hospitalization.

While some methods of consuming marijuana are less dangerous than others, the safest and healthiest option is to avoid using recreational drugs altogether.

In addition to being linked with heart rhythm problems, marijuana use has also been shown to be linked with an increased risk of stroke, with frequent marijuana users being more than twice as likely to suffer a stroke compared to non-users. Again, this is true even in young people, who normally are much less likely to suffer a stroke than older people. This risk is compounded among people who use marijuana in addition to tobacco and have other health problems, including high blood pressure, that are known to increase one’s risk of stroke. Though the study does not establish a direct causal relationship between using marijuana and suffering a stroke, previous studies have shown that marijuana use leads to increased blood clotting and a narrowing of the arteries, suggesting a likely explanation.

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Researchers behind both studies, which are scheduled to be presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association this Saturday, November 16th, conclude that doctors should ask patients who have suffered a stroke or have heart problems whether they use marijuana so as to better prepare treatment options. As the studies have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, their findings are considered preliminary. Though the American Heart Association takes no position on the legalization of marijuana, it recommends that public health protections such as age restrictions on purchasing the drug and smoke-free air laws be put into place.

Disturbing evidence about the negative health effects of marijuana also recently arose in the aftermath of a spate of hospitalizations in connection with a series of mysterious vaping-related lung injuries, some of which lead to death. Recently, the CDC revealed that the ingredient believed to cause these emergencies is Vitamin E acetate, a chemical sometimes added to THC vape products to change the consistency of the oil, particularly on the black market. Of course, smoking marijuana also harms the respiratory system, as tar accumulates inside the lungs and carcinogens enter the body. While some methods of consuming marijuana are less dangerous than others, the safest and healthiest option is to avoid using recreational drugs altogether.

Smoke free

A Teen Pacifier? How Nicotine Infiltrated A Smoke-Free Generation

According to thetruth.com, one of the most reputable sources for all nicotine and cigarette related statistics, electronic cigarette and vape use has created the same level of addiction and dependence on nicotine as previous generations. The unsettling part of that statistic is the level of addiction is present in a generation that was statistically unlikely to start smoking nicotine products in the first place.