Monday, September 29, 2008

Paul Newman and lung cancer

As much as many people are mourning the death of legendary actor Paul Newman, 83 years is a good run. Of course, if we're healthy and still able to enjoy life, we would like to live longer, but it seems that Mr. Newman packed a lot of living in his life and he touched many lives.

From his unforgettable acting and good looks to his gracious and generous donations to various causes and the fact that he remained married to the same woman for 50 years, gives him an aura of being one of a kind. I'd like to think that he's not one of a kind, that there are many others like him, but he does seem to be one of a select few.

Sadly, he died from lung cancer. He's from a generation that promoted smoking as glamorous, as something that everyone did. If you can't imagine that time, watch an episode of Mad Men - a drama about advertising men in the 1960s - and you'll see how pervasive smoking was. The news stories report that Mr. Newman fought a lengthy battle with cancer. But because he was a private man, most people didn't know that.

Lung cancer is often thought of as a fast moving disease. But there are many people who live with lung cancer for many years. Depending on the type, it can move slowly and it can be treated, kept at bay for a while.

Because some the symptoms of lung cancer can seem like many other illnesses, it can be a while until it's actually diagnosed. Here are the most common symptoms:

  • A cough that doesn't go away and gets worse over time
  • Feeling short of breath, difficulty catching your breath
  • Wheezing (high pitched sound in your lungs)
  • Losing your voice (hoarseness)
  • Frequent bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Not hungry, losing weight without trying
  • Feeling tired
  • Chest pain that doesn't go away
  • Coughing up blood
Rest in peace Mr. Newman. Thank you for sharing your talent and your generosity with the world.

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