The "Cool" Stick
Community Health Works
A Regional Center for Health Innovation
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Many Americans are learning that negative measureable health outcomes from smoking far outweigh the benefits. Yet still, each day, more than 3,600 people under 18 smoke their first cigarette, and more than 900 begin smoking on a daily basis. By educating potential cigarette consumers about the real “cool” realities of smoking, we hope to make a dent in the smoking statistics in our area. Combining our efforts educating the younger generation about the risk involved with smoking combined with our intervention work with primary care providers and educating their patients who smoke and promoting cessation classes is creating cleaner air to breathe in Central Georgia. Most people take better care of their house or their car by not smoking in them but are still comfortable filling their lungs with the carcinogens in tobacco smoke on a daily basis. The negative externalities to smoking certainly make the “cool” stick far less appealing.


What is Lung Cancer?

The lungs, a pair of sponge-like, cone-shaped organs, are part of the respiratory system. The right lung has three sections, called lobes; it is a little larger than the left lung, which has two lobes. When we breathe in, the lungs take in oxygen, which our cells need to live and carry out their normal functions. When we breathe out, the lungs get rid of carbon dioxide, which is a waste product from the body's cells. Cancers that begin in the lungs are divided into two major types, non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer, depending on the cells from which the cancer originates and how the cells look under a microscope. Each type of lung cancer grows and spreads in different ways and is treated differently. Non-small cell lung cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer, and it generally grows and spreads more slowly. There are three main types of non-small cell lung cancer. They are named for the type of cells in which the cancer develops: squamous cell carcinoma (also called epidermoid carcinoma), adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Small cell lung cancer, sometimes called oat cell cancer, is less common than non-small cell lung cancer. About 13% of all lung cancers are of the small cell type. This type of lung cancer grows more quickly and is more likely to spread to other organs in the body.

What are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer. Some people don't have any symptoms at all. About 25% of people diagnosed with advanced lung cancer do not have symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that doesn't go away and gets worse over time
  • Constant chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
  • Repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Swelling of the neck and face
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Fatigue

These symptoms may be caused by lung cancer or by other conditions. It is important to check with a doctor.

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