Paul Newman has died of lung cancer at the age of 83. Newman, who used to be a heavy smoker until 30 years ago, had been receiving treatment for lung cancer when he was last seen a few months ago in a wheelchair coming out of the Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York.

Newman's early film career was during a period when cigarette smoking in movies portrayed virility, sex appeal and sophistication. He once said he was amazed he had survived all that booze, smoking and car racing.

Experts say that although giving up smoking significantly reduces your chances of developing lung cancer, that risk rarely goes right down to that of somebody who has never smoked. Lung tissue, like brain tissue, cannot be replaced once it is gone or badly damaged. However, if you are a smoker and you do quit, your risk of developing lung cancer and other fatal diseases starts falling immediately.

Here are some facts about cancer and smoking in the USA:
(Source - The Lung Cancer Alliance)

-- More Americans die of lung cancer each year than any other type of cancer
-- One in every three cancer deaths is lung cancer
-- More US citizens die of lung cancer than the combined totals of breast, prostate, liver, kidney and melanoma cancers.
-- For every prostate cancer death there are three lung cancer deaths among US males
-- Twice as many American women die of lung cancer as breast cancer
-- Approximately 439 Americans die each day because they have lung cancer
-- 85% of lung cancer diagnoses are among people who smoke or used to smoke
-- Currently only 16% of lung cancer diagnoses are at the earliest stage
-- Only lung cancers that are diagnosed at their earliest stage have a chance of a cure

5-Year survival rates for 4 different cancers (USA)
(Source - The Lung Cancer Alliance)

Breast Cancer
1974-1976 - 75%
1996-2004 - 87%
Prostate Cancer
1974-1976 - 67%
1996-2004 - 99%
Colon Cancer
1974-1976 - 50%
1996-2004 - 64%
Lung Cancer
1974-1976 - 13%
1996-2004 - 15%

Research spending dollars per death - 2007 (USA)
(Source - The Lung Cancer Alliance)

Breast Cancer - $23,754
Prostate Cancer - $11,959
Colon Cancer - $5,500
Lung Cancer - $1,414

Total Research Funding from NCI, CDC and DOD (2007):
(Source - The Lung Cancer Alliance)

Breast: $971.8 million
Prostate: $323.5 million
Colon: $287 million
Lung: $226.9 million

The UK Department of Health will have images at the back of cigarette packets as of 1st October 2008 with the following messages:

1. Smokers die younger
2. Smoking clogs the arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes
3. Smoking causes fatal lung cancer
4. Smoking is highly addictive, don't start
5. Stopping smoking reduces the risk of fatal heart and lung diseases
6. Smoking can cause a slow and painful death
7. Smoking causes ageing of the skin
8. Smoking can damage the sperm and decreases fertility
9. Smoking may reduce the blood flow and cause impotence
10. Smoking contains benzene, nitrosamines, formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide
11. Smoking when pregnant harms your baby
12. Protect children, don't make them breathe your smoke
13. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you stop smoking
14. Get help to stop smoking
15. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you stop smoking

Paul Newman - Short Biography

Name - Paul Leonard Newman
Born - January 26th 1925, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Parents - Theresa Fetzer and Arthur Newman.
Died - 26th September 2008, Westport, Connecticut, USA
Married - To Jackie Witte (1949-1958), To Joanne Woodward (1958-2008)

Paul Newman was an actor, film director, businessman, car racer and a humanitarian. He once said he was proud to be number 19 among Richard Nixon's top enemies. He won several awards, including an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy award, and many honorary awards.

Newman was an enthusiastic car racing driver and won several championships in Sports Car Club of America road racing. His team won various championships in Open Wheel Indy Car racing.

He co-founded Newman's Own, a food company, all the profits of the company he donated to charity - over $220 million.

When he was a boy Newman's mother encouraged his interest in theatre. When he was seven he played the court jester in Robin Hood, a school production. After school he attended Ohio University, Athens for a brief period.

During the Second World War Newman was in the navy, in the Pacific Theater. He had hoped to become accepted for pilot training and was sent to Ohio University for the Navy V-12 program - however that ambition died as soon as they discovered he was color blind. He eventually became a gunner (for torpedo bombers) and also a radioman. In 1944 he was sent to Parber's Pint, Hawaii and assigned to Pacific based replacement torpedo squadrons. He later flew from aircraft carriers as a tail gunner.

In 1949 Newman graduated from Kenyon College. He studied acting later on at Yale University, and under Lee Strasberg at the Actors' Studio, NY City.

His early acting career was in Broadway Theater. His first movie was The Silver Chalice (1954). He has appeared in countless films, the most famous ones being Exodus (1960), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966), Hombre (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Towering Inferno (1974), Slap Shot (1977) and The Verdict (1982). He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford and director George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973). He also directed four feature films - Rachel, Rachel (1968), based on Margaret Laurence's A Jest of God, the screen version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972). He last appeared on the movie screen in Road to Perdition (2002).

Sources - The Lung Cancer Alliance, Wikipedia, BBC

Written by - Christian Nordqvist