Nevadans With Cancer

In what would be his last network address in April, Peter Jennings says "I've been reminding my colleagues today who've all been incredibly supportive, that almost 10-million Americans are already living with cancer and I have a lot to learn from them."

And perhaps now its time for us to learn something from Peter Jennings. A longtime smoker he had quit. But according to local oncologist Dr. Roy MacKintosh in many cases the dye has already been cast. "The cancer risk never really disappears after you stop smoking, it goes down down down, but after about 15 years it is still about three times as much as a person who has never smoked."

That message is not being heeded here in Nevada, especially among women. According to the American Cancer Society the smoking rate here is 25-point two percent among Nevada residents the highest in the nation. 29-point four percent of women smoke here more than anywhere else in the country. Smoking or second hand smoke is the cause of nine out of every ten lung cancer cases. Which means smoking related lung cancer is the number one preventable cancer of them all. On a positive note the rate of smokers is going down about one-percent a year. Unfortunately it takes 20-to-30-years from that time to see a lowered risk of lung cancer.

The best can be gleaned from Jenning's death, smokers are at risk for lung cancer even if they quit, its best to not pick up a cigarette at all.