Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer can strike with deadly force, and when it strikes it kills over 60% of the time. It has the potential to take one from happy and oblivious to near death fast. Lung cancer kills 31% of all those who die of cancer. The chance of an American getting lung/bronchus cancer before the age of 60 is 1:92 -- surprisingly high. The chance between birth and death is a whooping 1:12. Link

The chance of getting all forms of cancer between birth and death is 50:50.

There were 160,000 deaths due to lung cancer in 2007, and about 2000 in Michigan. The greatest incidence of lung cancer is in Arkansas, and the lowest in Utah. Of course, smoking is the biggest factor in cancer incidence. Lung cancer is most common in African American men; least common in Asian & Hispanic women.

Lung cancer like fatal car accidents and other serious illnesses underscores the fragility of life -- something we all know, but don't think about.

Nassim Taleb in Fooled by Randomness discusses his version of the alternate world hypothesis where chance events take place differently. He says the value of a life is the average of all the possible worlds. Taleb is primarily talking about high finance, but I think the notion applies to disease survivors and victims as well.