Cancer Care Ontario Promotes National Non-Smoking Week

Ontario Must Stay the Course in the Fight Against Lung Cancer

TORONTO, Jan. 20 /CNW/ - Currently an estimated 7,800 Ontarians are diagnosed with lung cancer and approximately 6,000 die of the disease each year. Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke continue to be the main risk factors for developing lung cancer - and that is why we must continue to encourage Ontarians to be smoke-free.

"Despite being the most preventable cancer, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Canadian men and women," said Terrence Sullivan, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario. "National Non-Smoking Week provides an opportunity to remind Ontarians how they can protect themselves by not smoking and avoiding exposure to second-hand smoke."

Second-hand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals - 50 of which are known carcinogens. There is international scientific consensus that tobacco industry products and exposure to second-hand smoke results in many fatal diseases including heart disease, lung cancer and death.

The province has made great strides in the fight against lung cancer through prevention efforts including the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, as demonstrated by the decline in smoking rates and lung cancer incidence among males in recent years. Since 2001, smoking rates have declined in Ontario, particularly among teenagers.

Smoking prevention has also been boosted by efforts that encourage Ontarians to make behavioural changes to improve their health. Second-hand smoke and tobacco control advertising legislation has been effective - but there is more work to be done, especially among groups that continue to have high levels of smoking rates.

Lung cancer diagnosis rates among males have declined two per cent annually since 1989. Rates for women have remained essentially the same since 1998. However, the disease continues to be a leading cause of death by cancer in men and women because it is both common and highly fatal. Unfortunately there are no effective screening procedures for lung cancer.

"Despite some recent evidence of improvements in survival in subtypes of lung cancer, overall long-term survival remains very poor. This signals that more work needs to be done to prevent people from starting to smoke," added Sullivan. "Cancer Care Ontario led or been a partner in a number of initiatives including the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy and the Aboriginal Tobacco Program. These programs focus on prevention, cessation and protection to reduce smoking rates and improve cancer outcomes."

The province continues to focus attention on preventing young people from starting to smoke, protecting Ontarians from exposure to second-hand smoke and helping smokers quit. The overall downward trend gives hope that lung cancer incidence will continue to decline over time.

Cancer Care Ontario is the provincial agency responsible for continually improving cancer services. As the government's cancer advisor, Cancer Care Ontario works to reduce the number of people diagnosed with cancer, and make sure that patients receive better care every step of the way. For more information visit cancercare.on.ca.

SOURCE Cancer Care Ontario

For further information: For further information: Lenore Bromley, Sr. Public Affairs Advisor, Tel: (416) 971-9800 x 3383, Email: lenore.bromley@cancercare.on.ca


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