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Learning about lung cancer could help smokers quit

When it comes to personal health, more and more people have grown increasingly aware of how the choices they make today will have an impact for years to come. In addition to eating healthier, more people now include exercise in their weekly routines.

As November is Lung Cancer Awareness, one lifestyle change many have attempted to make, with varying degrees of success, is to quit smoking. While it's often difficult and nerve wracking to stop smoking, it's certainly worth it, as the potential consequences of continuing, most notably lung cancer, should prove a strong enough motivating factor even for those who are struggling mightily to stop lighting. According to the National Cancer Institute, roughly 220,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2009, and more than 159,000 will lose their battles with lung cancer this year.

Those statistics are especially frightening when considering many people who smoke are fully aware they are increasing their risk of lung cancer, but continue to smoke anyway. As education about lung cancer is often helpful for those attempting to quit, consider the following information if you or a loved one is attempting to make the lifestyle change that could very well someday save their life.

What is lung cancer?

A significant majority (roughly 99 percent) of lung cancer cases fall into two categories, which are classified based on the size of the cancerous tumor.

Small cell lung cancer is, as its name suggests, associated with those cancers wherein the cancer cells are smaller than typical cancer cells. Instances of SCLC are less common, affecting only about 20 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer, but their comparatively tiny stature does not make them any less harmful. In fact, these cancer cells reproduce rapidly, forming large tumors quickly. As a result of that rapid reproduction, SCLCs, which are typically the result of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, have often spread to other parts of the body before they've even been initially diagnosed.

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