More than five decades ago, the United States released the first report of the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health which concluded cigarette smoking contributed to lung and laryngeal cancer and was a leading cause of chronic bronchitis.

Although this information is common knowledge now, more than 45 million American adults still smoke. Of those 45 million, 8 million are living with serious illness caused by smoking and around 438,000 adults die prematurely from tobacco use.

Since the introduction of programs like SmokeFree.org and FreeTheNightOK.org, an increasing number of Oklahomans are choosing to kick the habit, but the heartland still ranks sixth in percentage of smokers per state. A whopping 23.7% of Oklahomans smoke, 28% male and 24% female of every ethnicity, age range and education level still admit to lighting up.

The CDC predicts that 221,200 men and women will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015. Of those, nearly 72% will be fatal. More than 50% of people with lung cancer will die within one year of being diagnosed.

The statics seem grim, but if caught in the localized state (confined to primary site), the 5-year relative survival is 54%. The reason over half of the people diagnosed do not survive is early detection of the disease only happens in 15% of cases. When the cancer is diagnosed in the regional stage (spread to regional lymph nodes), the survival rate decreases to 27%. Unfortunately, most cases of lung cancer (57%) aren’t diagnosed until the cancer has metastasized, when the 5-year relative survival rate is only 4%.

So what can you do to provide the best chance of survival for yourself or a loved one?

First, put down the cigarette. If the good of your health isn’t enough reason, consider that non-smokers have a 20 – 30 percent greater chance of developing lung cancer if they are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work.

Second, get your home tested for radon, asbestos and other cancer-causing materials.

Third, get a screening. GE Optima CT scans are one of the best means of detecting early stages of lung cancer, emphysema, aneurysm of the aorta, and other lung ailments. Lung scans offered by Advanced Body Scan are ultra-accurate, extremely fast and non-invasive – and give you information that can save your life.