Avera Medical Minute: Lung Cancer Awareness Month

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Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:12 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It is one of the most common forms of cancer and second only to breast and prostate cancer. If the statistics hold true, hundreds of South Dakotans will be diagnosed with the disease. The most prevalent risk associated with lung cancer is smoking and second-hand smoke. Avera Medical Group oncologist Dr. Ben Solomon says another factor that gains some attention is radon.

“Radon is sort of a ubiquitous gas that comes out of the ground that is present in the state of South Dakota and other areas in the region, particularly in basements.”

Although lung cancer is the second most common diagnosed cancer in men and women, it is the highest cause of cancer-related deaths because it is often detected later according to Dr. Solomon.

There is some positive news though.

According to the American Lung Association, more people are surviving this disease with an increase of 14% nationally to 23.7% over the past five years. South Dakota currently ranks 23rd among all states in lung cancer rates which is among the nation’s average tier. Minnesota ranks lower at 20 and Iowa ranks higher at 33. There are more treatments that have improved outcomes over time, but a lot of the outcomes are incremental. Dr. Solomon says preventing a positive diagnosis is to quit smoking and eliminate the incremental risks.

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