(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – ABC’s “World News Tonight” anchor Peter Jennings, 66, announced last week that he has lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Lung cancer is hard to detect early and difficult to treat.
“Almost 10 million Americans are already living with cancer, and I have a lot to learn from them,” Jennings said in a taped message on “World News Tonight” last Tuesday evening. “And living is the key word.”
Smoking directly causes 90 percent of all lung cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society. Research shows that a person’s risk of lung cancer death after quitting smoking for ten years decreases to about half that of a current smoker and after 15 years the risk returns to a “normal” rate though it does not disappear completely.
“Yes I was a smoker, until about 20 years ago and I was weak and I smoked over 9/11,” Jennings said.
He plans to continue working as ABC’s top anchorman as much as he can while receiving treatment as an outpatient. Jennings was scheduled to start chemotherapy this week.
Approximately 172,570 new lung cancer cases will be diagnosed this year according to the American Cancer Society. The five year survival rate of lung cancer is just 14.9 percent, significantly lower than other cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute.
A patient’s prognosis depends largely on how early the cancer is detected. While Jennings has not disclosed what type of lung cancer he has or how much it has spread, experts have said they believe the cancer is probably more advanced because doctors are not operating to try and remove it.
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