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HEALTH

The Killers
Continued from page 31

the LCA, 60 percent of those


diagnosed either never smoked
at all, or quit decades ago. In
fact, one of the largest subsets
of newly diagnosed patients
is women in their 30s and 40s
who have never smoked. “No
one knows why this is happen-
ing,” said Cofrancesco, “but
there is a study being conducted
at the University of Pittsburgh
focusing on estrogen and how
it affects the way the human
body processes carcinogens. It’s
possible that women face a
greater risk.”

A whole host of
risk factors are
specific to life in the
big city.

PRESCRIPTION

H owever, progress is be-


ing made on various
fronts. The Health Department
launched its biggest and most
comprehensive antismoking
campaign in 2002, and the total
ban in restaurants and bars took
effect in 2003. Since then an es-
timated 250,000 New Yorkers
have kicked the habit. And Cof-
rancesco does cite one break-
through — Congress approved
$20 million in September for a

ll
lung cancer research program
LUNG CANCER at the Department of Defense,
the first one to ever receive fed-
eral funding. Smoking-related
DIAGNOSIS of risk factors that are specific PROGNOSIS deaths have fallen 11 percent

U nsurprisingly, cancer is the


leading cause of death in
New York City for those un-
to life in the big city: the inevi-
table pollution created by such
a densely populated area, the
K ay Cofrancesco, a spokes-
person for the Lung Can-
cer Alliance, laments the poor
since 2002, and fatal lung can-
cer sank another 8 percent. But
little is known about the disease
der 65, and the second leading thousands of idling engines funding for research, and chalks itself, and treatment for lung
cause overall, accounting for a spewing exhaust in an area a lot of it up to the culture of cancer has not significantly
total of over 13,000 deaths in enclosed by massive skyscrap- blame that surrounds the disease. advanced. Since funding is so
2006. Out of all these cases, the ers, the multitudes of smok- “There is still a stigma attached hard to get, researchers aren’t
most common type afflicting ers (though dwindling) that to lung cancer because of smok- drawn to the field — because as
New Yorkers is lung cancer. since 2003 have been forced ing, and it’s one reason so little she notes, “Who wants to spend
It’s a fairly obvious foe for to puff exclusively in the great attention is paid to the actual their entire career fighting for
New Yorkers, with a whole host outdoors. disease.” Actually, according to grant money?”

32 • Resident The Week Of November 4, 2008