Thomas Floridio has stage-four lung cancer. The 76-year-old smoked very little and quit back in 1968, so the diagnosis was a shock.
Dr. Jorge Ayub of Florida Cancer Specialists said even if you quit smoking years ago, it doesn't mean you are in the clear. That's smoking myth number one.
"It doesn't bring (your risk) down to a level of a never smoker, but it does decrease by 80 to 90 percent around year 15", Ayub said.
So what if you never smoked at all? Does that mean you won't ever get lung cancer? This is smoking myth number two.
"Non-smokers do get lung cancer,” Ayub said. “The incidents are mostly in women. The idea is it's likely from secondhand smoke. Another carcinogen we might be exposed to is radon gas. There are probably some genetic factors there that we still don't understand."
Then there's smoking myth number three: You can’t get lung cancer from medical marijuana.
"Medical marijuana is still not known,” Ayub said. "The reason for it is the studies that have been done on it are relatively small studies. They did not take into consideration that amount of cigarette exposure the patient had. On the biological level, we have detected marijuana smoking causes similar alterations of the inner lining of the lung."
Smoking myth number four: There's no great screening method to find early lung cancer.
Ayub said low dose CT scans have been shown to decrease mortality by 20 percent, so they could become a more common screening tool for high-risk populations.
Smoking myth number five: If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, it's a matter of time before the cancer kills you
Dr. Ayub said that's not true.
"The sooner we detect the cancer, the more likely we'll have the ability to cure,” he said. “With stage-one cancer, we have a 60 to 65 percent cure rate with surgery."