The Doctor is In: Set a quit date today

As our focus turns to
planning for the winter holidays, this also is the time of year when many of us
decide to make some healthy resolutions for the New Year. If you are a
cigarette, cigar or pipe smoker, I urge you to make 2012 the year that you give
up this harmful habit for good.

The health consequences of
tobacco use are well documented and widely publicized. Smoking is a primary
cause of the two major types of lung cancer: (1) non-small cell lung cancer and
(2) small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer occurs less frequently but
grows and spreads to other organs faster. Non-small cell lung cancer is less
aggressive and more common. There are three types of non-small cell lung
cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinomas. Each
type of lung cancer develops in unique ways and requires different treatments.
If undiagnosed and untreated, lung cancer may spread to the lymph nodes or other
tissues in the chest (including the other lung). The disease also may spread
(metastasize) to other organs, such as the bones, brain, or liver.

According to the American
Lung Association, smoking is a contributing factor to 80 percent and 90 percent
of lung cancer deaths among U.S. women and men, respectively. More Americans
die from lung cancer than from breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.

When lung cancer first
develops, you may feel fine and not have any noticeable symptoms. However, as with
other types of cancer, the disease eventually will progress and produce some
kind of warning signs. Some of the most common symptoms of lung cancer include:

• Persistent cough that worsens over time
• Coughing up blood
• Pain in the chest cavity or ribs
• Shortness of breath
• Wheezing or hoarseness
• Repeat bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis
• Bloody or rust-colored sputum
• Fatigue
• Loss of appetite and/or weight loss

To make a diagnosis of lung
cancer, your doctor will perform a physical examination, which will include a
review of your personal medical history, family history, tobacco use, exposure
to environmental concerns, and any symptoms you may be having. A diagnosis also
is based on the results of certain medical tests, such as a chest X-ray, CT
scan, sputum cytology (study of phlegm cells under a microscope), needle biopsy
(study of lung tissue by a pathologist), or bronchoscopy (retrieval of lung
tissue through a flexible tube inserted through the mouth or nose). Once a
diagnosis is made, doctors conduct additional testing to determine if the
cancer has spread and how far – this process is called staging. Staging helps
your doctor develop a plan of treatment individualized to your specific medical
needs and personal preferences.

Nov. 17, was the 36th
annualGreat American Smokeout. Why
wait until the New Year to resolve to living your life without tobacco?Your family
physician can help you find the support you need to make positive steps toward
a smoke-free lifestyle. Visitwww.smokefree.gov for a
step-by-step quit-smoking guide. The American Lung Association’sFreedom From Smoking® Online program is
another helpful resource, as are the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s free
Quit Line, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and online support program,Determined to Quit.

*Joshua Feinberg, D.O., is a family medicine
physician in practice at the Crozer Health Pavilion, 145
Brinton Lake Road, Suite 201, Glen Mills
, PA 19342, 610-459-1619

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About Crozer Keystone Staff

Crozer-Keystone Health System’s physicians, specialists and advanced practitioners are committed to improving the health of our community through patient-centered, quality care across a full continuum of health services. Crozer Brinton Lake is Crozer-Keystone’s comprehensive outpatient care facility in western Delaware County, offering primary care, specialty services, outpatient surgery and advanced cancer treatment. Contact us: 300 Evergreen Drive, Glen Mills, PA 19342 http://www.crozerkeystone.org/Brinton-Lake 1-855-254-7425

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