"Forsythe Cancer Care Center formally known as Century Wellness Center"
521 Hammill Ln, Reno, NV 89511 Tel:(877) 789-0707

Dr. James Forsythe answers your questions


News coverage of ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings' death from lung cancer and Dana Reeve's lung cancer diagnosis has led to a significant increase in public awareness. Jennings, who announced in April that he had lung cancer, died last month at age 67. In August, Dana Reeve, 44, wife of the late actor Christopher Reeve, announced that she has lung cancer.

These high profile cases have made millions of Americans keenly aware of lung cancer's continuing toll. Here at Cancer Screening and Treatment Center of Nevada and the Century Wellness Clinic, there has been a flurry of e-mails on the subject of lung cancer with questions on prevention, risks and treatment options.

World renowned oncologist Dr. James W. Forsythe, both owner and medical director of Century Wellness Clinic and Cancer Screening and Treatment Center of Nevada answers your e-mail questions on prevention, risks, and treatment options associated with lung cancer.


If you quit smoking, can you reduce or eliminate your risk of tobacco-related lung cancer, or is the damage permanent?


If you quit smoking today, you will stay at risk for lung cancer for about 10 to 15 years. After 15 years, you can assume normal risk. If you're 30 years old and a lifelong smoker, you can almost completely eliminate your risk of lung cancer by quitting. You can always reduce your risk if you quit smoking.


We've known for years that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, but how does someone who's never touched a cigarette develop the disease?


Although not every non-smoker suffering from lung cancer will have an identifiable risk factor for development of the disease, a number of conditions and circumstances have been identified that will increase a non-smoker’s chance of developing lung cancer.


One most probable reason a non-smoker contracts lung cancer is genetics. You may be born genetically predisposed to getting cancer. You have something in your cells that activated and started producing a tumor. That's probably one of the most likely reasons.


Then, there's the risk factor of environmental exposure, especially radon. Radon is the second leading risk factor for lung cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the Earth's soil. In fact, one in 15 homes has levels of radon that are considered too high. It’s important to get radon levels checked before buying new property, or to get radon sensors for the house.


Passive smoking, or the inhalation of tobacco smoke from other smokers, is an established risk factor for the development of lung cancer. Non-smokers who reside with a smoker have a 24% increase in risk for developing lung cancer when compared with other non-smokers. Each year, up to 3,000 lung cancer deaths are estimated to occur in the U.S. that are attributable to passive smoking.


However, smoking is the number one risk factor. About 80% of people who have lung cancer were smokers.


Are certain types of lung cancer more treatable than others? What's the general survival rate?


It's a disease that claims more lives than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined, killing over 160,000 Americans a year. The leading cause of cancer death worldwide, lung cancer is curable in its earliest stages; however, the prospects for a cure are quite low when it is detected in advanced stages. Unfortunately, the symptoms of lung cancer -- coughed-up blood, chest pain or a hoarse throat -- often appear when the cancer already has spread beyond the lungs and when chemotherapy isn't likely to stop the cancer.

If you catch a lung cancer early — a Stage 1 cancer — it's going to be more treatable than an advanced lung cancer. But the problem is that most people who go to a doctor with symptoms could have advanced lung cancer, so it's maybe too late.


Survival rates for all lung cancer: in the first year, six out of 10 people will be dead. By the second year, eight out of 10 people will be dead. By five years, only 15% of people will survive.


Nonsmoking related lung cancer, called Adenocarcinoma can be highly malignant and aggressive with 60% of patients dying within one year and 90% in five years. Bronchoalveolar lung cancer is more indolent, slow growing but less responsive to chemotherapy. Small cell lung cancer is the most responsive of all lung cancers to chemotherapy; however, chemotherapy used as a second or third line of therapy is rarely successful. 15% of small cell cancers have a survival rate of five years or longer while only five percent of non-small cell cancers live up to five years.


Non-small cell lung cancer is not a high responder to conventional treatments like chemotherapy. Surprisingly, it has been highly responsive to a new cancer food supplement called Lipoic Acid Palladium (LAPd). I have seen very positive results with a 30% complete reduction in the tumor and a 30% partial reduction with patients who have non-small cell lung cancer. For more information on LAPd, please call my office at 775-827-0707 during regular business hours and my staff and I would be happy to provide you with the positive effects from LAPd.


Unlike mammograms for breast cancer or colonoscopies for colon cancer, with lung cancer, there is no generally accepted screening test today. We have 100 million former or current smokers in the United States right now and a lot of them, obviously, are considered at risk for lung cancer. But there is not a reliable screening standard for all these at risk people.


Is there a difference between smoking-related lung cancer and non-smoking-related lung cancer?


It appears that the biggest difference is that people who are not smokers tend to respond to therapy better overall. This probably has more to do with the fact that people who are not smoking have a stronger immune system. So they respond better to treatment.


Are there differences between men and women in terms of susceptibility? Are there high-risk age groups?


Men and women are equally susceptible; however, lung cancer kills twice as many men as women and is the leading cause of death in Americans under 80 years. Most people are diagnosed at 50 or older.


There is research that suggests a quickly growing population of people with lung cancer appears to be nonsmoking women. While men still have a greater number of overall lung cancer cases, nonsmoking women are much more likely than nonsmoking men to develop cancer. The causes for nonsmoking women contracting lung cancer are unknown at this time.


*Lisa Marie Wark is currently a free lance writer and is a business development consultant with a concentration in medical spas and alternative clinics.