Running to Stand Still

…busy Dad trying to make it all work

Cancer’s MVP – Cigarettes

A few weeks ago I was asked to join the committee for the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation Team here in Chicago. I gladly accepted.

About the same time I was starting to think about the 2012 Berlin Marathon.  I’ll be running a few races this year trying to raise some more money for the DetermiNation Team and for me the final big race for 2012 is the Berlin Marathon.  I wanted to get my fundraising page together and I had a few ideas about what I wanted to say and the pictures I wanted to post.

But I needed some facts.  Cancer facts.  Facts for the committee and facts for my fundraising site.  So I went to the ACS main website and found the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts & Figures 2012 report.  The first thing that hit me was it was 66 pages long…and unfortunately it probably could have been longer.

What I read just blew me away.

Here’s what I found out right off of page one.

In 2012, about 577,190 Americans are expected to die of cancer, more than 1,500 people a day.

About 1,638,910 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2012

Want a reference on that?

This year the Super Bowl is being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.  The New York Giants are playing the New England Patriots…again.  While watching the game look at the size of the crowd and think about this….

– The number of Americans who will die of cancer in 2012 could fill that stadium about 8.5 times.

– If you include the rest of the world the stadium could be filled about 88.25 times.

– The number of new cancer cases for 2012 could fill the stadium over 24 times…and that’s only for the U.S.!

Of the estimated new cases for 2012 the number one for men is prostate cancer at 241,740 (29%).  For women it’s breast cancer at 226,870 (29%).

Of the estimated deaths from cancer the numero uno for both sexes is…..lung & bronchus cancer.  The men top out at 87,750 (29%) and the women at 72,990 (29%).  Lucas Oil Stadium holds about 68,000 so you do the math.

Here’s another bit of information from the American Cancer Society AND I’M STILL ON PAGE ONE!

All cancers caused by cigarette smoking and heavy use of alcohol could be prevented completely. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012 about 173,200 cancer deaths will be caused by tobacco use.

If you’ve read a few of my blogs you know that my Dad died of lung cancer back in 1981.  He was diagnosed in 1977.  He tried to quit smoking but we’re talking about a guy who had smoked two packs a day since WWII.

He tried cold turkey.  He went to a hypnotist.  Nothing worked.  Nicotine is a very addicting drug.

I would even take all the cigarettes out of a brand new pack and use a pen to mark the point I wanted him to snuff it out.  Baby steps you know?  That didn’t work either.

What I forgot to mention here is that he tried all of this only after he had one of his lungs removed.

My father died when I was 18.  That’s 18 years of second hand smoke.

What does the report say about second hand smoke?

Each year, about 3,400 nonsmoking adults die of lung cancer as a result of breathing second hand smoke.

I guess I should consider myself lucky.

So why are cigarettes still legal?  That’s easy.  It’s big business baby!  The only way to make cigarette companies go away is to stop buying their product.  Not an easy thing for a smoker to do.

But why not try.

Do you know someone like this?  Do you know someone who really wants to quit?

Forward them this blog.  Tell them the positive lesson they’d be teaching their kids.  Tell them about the money they’d be saving by not smoking.  A carton of cigarettes in Chicago costs roughly $85!  If my Father was still alive he’d be shelling out almost $510 a month on cigarettes.  That’s crazy.

The American Cancer Society lists well over 25 different sites that will help someone quit smoking.  You can find them here:

ASC Quit Smoking Help

There was some good news in the report…

The 5-year relative Survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 2001 and 2007 is 67%, up from 49% in 1975-1977. The improvement in survival reflects both progress in diagnosing certain cancers at an earlier stage and improvements in treatments.

I can only hope that this percentage will continue to move up from 2007 forward.

Also I’m a firm believer that if you get someone away from the cigarettes and into a workout program you’ll be helping someone break the suicidal habit that nicotine brings.  They’ll lose weight, want to eat better, get in shape and reach goals. Have them run for the ACS DetermiNation Team! There are countless stories of people putting the cigarette down, lacing up some running shoes, training for a few months and finishing a half marathon or even a full marathon AND NEVER LOOKING BACK!

I’ll be forwarding this blog to a few friends of mine who still smoke…I really don’t want any of them to become just another statistic.

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