Penne Hackforth-Jones. Smoking claims another victim.
The Australian actor, Penne Hackforth-Jones died recently from lung cancer at the age of 64. Penne was a popular actor on television and film and she will be missed by her many fans.
Unfortunately, Penne is only one of a growing number of Australian women being diagnosed with this aggressive disease. Over the last 30 years, lung cancer rates have increased by 32% in women. Lung cancer now kills about 3,000 Australian women each year, more than breast cancer. (1)
Sixty-five per cent of lung cancer cases in women are caused by smoking and the risk is highest for heavy smokers and those who have smoked for many years. (1)
Exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking) is also a cause of lung cancer. The U.S. Surgeon General estimates that living with a smoker increases a non-smoker’s chances of developing lung cancer by 20–30% (2).
There are over 7,000 ingredients in cigarette smoke and over 70 known cancer-causing agents. (3) These chemicals cause changes (mutations) in the DNA of the cells in the body, which can lead to cancer. Nicotine does not cause cancer.
Lung cancer is one of the more aggressive cancers. Unfortunately, the disease has often spread to other parts of the body at the time of diagnosis and only 12% of sufferers survive more than 5 years. (1)
The best way to avoid becoming a lung cancer statistic is to stop smoking. The good news is that the risk of lung cancer is reduced by 50% ten years after quitting, (4) as damaged cells start to repair.
1. AIHW. Lung cancer in Australia - an overview 2011
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2006
3. Tobacco smoking. IARC Monograph 100E, 2010
4. Fry JS. How Rapidly Does the Excess Risk of Lung Cancer Decline Following Quitting Smoking. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 2013
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