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Love Your Lungs: Standards Support Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month—a national campaign dedicated to increasing attention to lung cancer issues. Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related death, claiming 1.3 million lives every year. In recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) takes a look at the standards that support lung health.

In the U.S., nearly 90% of lung cancer deaths are traced to the long-term exposure to cigarette smoke, which contains more than 60 known carcinogens, including nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide (CO). Though colorless and odorless, CO is by no means benign. In the human body, CO prevents red blood cells from carrying adequate oxygen for cells and tissues to function. A technical report from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides guidance in measuring the presence of CO in cigarettes. ISO/TR 22305, Cigarettes - Measurement of nicotine-free dry particulate matter, nicotine, water and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke - Analysis of data from collaborative studies reporting relationships between repeatability, reproducibility and tolerances, establishes the tolerance for checks of the carbon monoxide yields declared by cigarette manufacturers. The standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 126, Tobacco and tobacco products. ANSI member the Tobacco Science Research Conference administers the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to TC 126.

It's Never too Late to Quit: Join the Great American Smokeout

On November 18, join the American Cancer Society and others in the Great American Smokeout.

Now in its thirty-fifth year, the Great American Smokeout is an annual event that challenges people to stop smoking cigarettes for 24 hours, hoping their decision to not smoke will last forever.

No matter how long you've been smoking, you can benefit from quitting: within hours, your body begins to repair the damage; within months, your risk of serious illnesses starts to decline.

The American Cancer Society offers resources and tips to help.

Non-smokers account for up to 15% of lung cancer cases. Secondhand (environmental) smoke is a major contributor: according to the National Cancer Institute, exposure to secondhand smoke accounts for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the U.S.

Secondhand smoke exposure can be measured by testing indoor air for nicotine or other chemicals in tobacco smoke. The amount of smoke created by a tobacco product directly depends on the quantity of tobacco being burned. For example, the amount of secondhand smoke emitted by one large cigar is similar to that emitted by smoking an entire pack of cigarettes. A standard from ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International can help to measure the presence of secondhand smoke by-products in the air. BSR/ASTM D5075-200x, Standard Test Method for Nicotine and 3-Ethenylpyridine in Indoor Air, covers the sampling and analysis of nicotine and 3-ethenylpyridine, a vapor-phase compound specific to tobacco smoke, in indoor air. The standard is currently under review as an American National Standard.

If a patient reports symptoms that may suggest lung cancer, screening tests can include chest radiographs and computed tomography (CT). In CT imaging, a three-dimensional image is generated from a series of two-dimensional X-ray images captured from a single axis of rotation. All X-ray imaging is based on the absorption of X-rays as they pass through different parts of the body. The amount of X-rays absorbed contributes to the radiation dose to the patient.

A standard developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) defines the basic safety and essential performance of CT scanners. IEC 60601-2-44 Ed. 3.0 b, Medical electrical equipment - Part 2-44: Particular requirements for the basic safety and essential performance of X-ray equipment for computed tomography, includes safety requirements for the X-ray generators used in CT scanners, including those where high-voltage generators are integrated with an X-ray tube assembly. The standard was developed by IEC Technical Committee (TC) 62B, Diagnostic Imaging Equipment. ANSI member and accredited standards developer the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) serves as the U.S. TAG Administrator to IEC TC 62B.

Treatments for lung cancer depend on the cancer's specific cell type, the extent to which it has spread, and the patient's overall health performance. Often, it can include radiation therapy, either as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy, ionizing radiation (e.g., gamma rays) to kill or control cancer cells. IEC 60601-2-11 Ed. 2.0 b, Medical electrical equipment - Part 2: Particular requirements for the safety of gamma beam therapy equipment, defines requirements to ensure radiation safety and enhance the electrical and mechanical safety of gamma ray therapy equipment being used. The standard was developed by IEC TC 62C, Equipment for Radiotherapy, Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Dosimetry, with NEMA administering the U.S. TAG to IEC TC 62C.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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