“Ragtime” Author E. L. Doctorow Dies of Lung Cancer

American author E. L. Doctorow has passed away at the age of 84. According to his son, Richard, the cause of death was complications of lung cancer.

Doctorow’s frequently novels, such as “Ragtime,” “Billy Bathgate” and “Welcome to Hard Times” placed fictional characters in “recognizable historical contexts.”

Apparently Doctorow didn’t care for the term historical novelist, telling NPR’s Scott Simon:

“I don’t agree with that. I think all novels are about the past, the near past, the far past, some of them have a wider focus and include more of society and recognizable events and people. The historical novel seems to me a misnomer, and many of my books take place in different places, in the Dakotas, or down south in Georgia or the Carolinas, so it’s just as valid to call me a geographical novelist as an historical novelist. I think of myself really as a national novelist, as an American novelist writing about my country.”

What You Should Know About Lung Cancer

1.  Lung cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining air passages.

2.  Estimated new cases and deaths from lung cancer (non-small cell and small cell combined) in the United States in 2014:

  • New cases: 224,210
  • Deaths: 159,260

3. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the primary cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the United States.

4. The most common types are named for how the lung cancer cells look under a microscope:

  • Small cell: The cells of small cell lung cancer look small under a microscope. About 1 of every 8 people with lung cancer has small cell lung cancer.
  • Non-small cell: The cells of non-small cell lung cancer are larger than the cells of small cell lung cancer. Most (about 7 of every 8) people diagnosed with lung cancer have non-small cell lung cancer. It doesn’t grow
    and spread as fast as small cell lung cancer, and it’s treated differently.

5.  Although smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, lung cancer risk also is increased by exposure to secondhand smoke; environmental exposures, such as radon, workplace toxins (e.g., asbestos, arsenic), and air pollution.

6.  The risk of lung cancer can be reduced by quitting smoking and by eliminating or reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and environmental and workplace risk factors.

7.  Screening with low-dose spiral CT scans has been shown to decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer in heavy smokers.

Low-dose spiral CT scan (LDCT scan): A procedure that uses low-dose radiation to make a series of very detailed pictures of areas inside the body. It uses an x-ray machine that scans the body in a spiral path.

A lung cancer screening trial studied people aged 55 years to 74 years who had smoked at least 1 pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years or more. Heavy smokers who had quit smoking within the past 15 years were also studied. The trial used chest x-rays or low-dose spiral CT scans (LDCT) scans to check for signs of lung cancer.

LDCT scans were better than chest x-rays at finding early-stage lung cancer. Screening with LDCT also decreased the risk of dying from lung cancer in current and former heavy smokers.

8.  Common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time
  • Constant chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
  • Repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Swelling of the neck and face
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Fatigue

9.  People with lung cancer have many treatment options. Treatment options include…

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy

The treatment that’s right for you depends mainly on the type and stage of lung cancer. You may receive more than.one type of treatment.

10.lung cancer deaths Percent Surviving 5 Years 17.4%, based on data from SEER 18 2005-2011.

Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of lung and bronchus cancer was 58.7 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 47.2 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2008-2012 cases and deaths.

Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 6.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2010-2012 data.

Prevalence of this cancer: In 2012, there were an estimated 408,808 people living with lung and bronchus cancer in the United States.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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