Editorial By the Plain Talk Talk about a one-two punch.

People across the country were rocked with the news of ABC news anchor Peter Jennings� death on Aug. 7.

Two days later, Dana Reeve, who spent nine years caring for her paralyzed husband, Christopher Reeve, until his death last year, went public with the news that she has lung cancer.

We hope the best for Ms. Reeve. We hope her physicians discovered her cancer in its early stages, and that an aggressive medical regimen will be successful.

We hope this because, frankly, while great strides have been made in cancer treatment over the years, there isn�t an abundance of stories of people who have successfully overcome lung cancer.

�We are concerned that, despite progress in other areas of cancer prevention and detection, lung cancer continues to kill 60 percent of its victims within one year of diagnosis,� said American Cancer Society Midwest Division State Vice-President Laurie Jensen-Wunder.

According to the ACS:

? In South Dakota, 430 people will be newly diagnosed and 410 will die from lung cancer this year.

? Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. for both men and women.

? During 2005, there will be about 172,570 new cases of lung cancer (93,010 among men and 79,560 among women). Lung cancer will account for about 13 percent of all new cancers.

? Lung cancer mainly occurs in the elderly. The average age of people diagnosed with lung cancer is 70; fewer than 3 percent of all cases are found in people under the age of 45.

? The chance that a man will develop lung cancer is 1 in 13 and for a woman, it is 1 in 18. This figure includes all people and doesn�t take into account whether or not they smoke.

? An estimated 163,510 deaths from lung cancer (90,490 among men and 73,020 among women) are expected in the U.S. in 2005, which accounts for around 28 percent of all cancer deaths. More people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. In spite of the large number of people diagnosed with this cancer, there are only about 330,000 long-term survivors.

? Nearly 60 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer die within one year of their diagnosis. Nearly 75 percent die within two years. This has not improved in 10 years.

? The five-year relative survival rate for all stages of lung cancer combined is only 15 percent. This has improved slightly in the last few years.

? Eighty-seven percent of lung cancer deaths can be attributed to tobacco use.

? Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in our society. Twenty-two percent of adult South Dakotans are smokers.

We know how terribly addicting nicotine can be. We urge our readers who smoke, however to consider this: you can quit. You really can.

Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center has packets of information available describing nicotine addiction and some of the best ways to stop using tobacco. The hospital also directs smokers to the South Dakota Quit Line.

Tobacco-cessation telephone counseling has helped the South Dakota Quit Line users reach a 26 percent rate of success. A quit attempt is considered successful once 12 months have passed without tobacco use.

Tobacco users who call 1-866-SD-QUITS (1-866-737-8487) receive over-the-phone counseling from trained professionals as well as discounted cessation products.

Counselors schedule regular follow-up calls over several weeks to offer support during the individual's quit attempt.Counselors schedule regular follow-up calls over several weeks to offer support during the individual�s quit attempt.��

Are you a smoker? Do you wish you could quit? Do you feel there�s a good chance your life could end in misery because of your habit?

Call Sioux Valley Vermillion Hospital. Call the South Dakota Quit Line. Call the state health department�s Tobacco Control Program at 1-800-738-2301. Call the American Lung Association at 312-243-2000.

Emphysema, heart disease and lung cancer don�t have to be in your future.

The Vermillion Plain Talk editorials reflect the opinion of Plain Talk editor David Lias. You may contact him at david.lias@plaintalk.net

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