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How long does it take smoking (i.e. lung cancer) to kill you?

Lung Cancer discussions, another of the most common forms of cancer

How long does it take smoking (i.e. lung cancer) to kill you?

Postby niccolo » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:35 pm

My grandfather has been smoking since he was 15, and is now 61. Lately, he's been coughing a lot, and losing his voice.
He smokes about two packs a day.
How long does it take lung cancer, or other diseases, to form?
And are these signs of anything?
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How long does it take smoking (i.e. lung cancer) to kill you?

Postby farnall » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:41 pm

It often takes 40 or 50 years to "get" you.

More people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer.
In 2004 - lung cancer killed more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined.
Lung cancer accounts for at least 31% of all deaths from cancer.
Approximately 90% of these could have been prevented if people had not smoked cigarettes.
Tobacco addiction is by far the most important risk factor in the development of lung cancer. There are almost 160,000 lung cancer deaths per year attributable to smoking.  (Source:  ACS)

Lung cancer mainly occurs in the elderly.
About 2/3 people older than 65
Fewer than 3% under the age of 45 Average age of diagnosis ~ 70

Male smokers - lifetime risk of lung cancer 1 in 6

Female smokers – risk of lung cancer is 1 in 9

Risk of lung cancer in non-smokers is 1 in 77

Can J Public Health. 1994 Nov-Dec;85(6):385-8.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7895211
- - -
The risk increases with amount of exposure – number of cigarettes per day and years of smoking [“pack years”]
Tobacco use kills nearly half a million Americans each year
1 out of 6 deaths in the U.S. result from smoking
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How long does it take smoking (i.e. lung cancer) to kill you?

Postby hurlbart41 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:43 pm

Well, lung cancer can form within the early adult years or never. That's the nature of cancer. It's more or less spontaneous.

As for the coughing and losing his voice, this is a result of anyone who long-term smokes. Basically, smoking will take an enormous toll on your respiratory system, killing the cilia that keep debris out of the lungs, destroying the alveoli where air exchange with the blood takes place, and some people will need to have their larynx removed, essentially causing them to lose their voices.
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