Rush Limbaugh's Cause Of Death Explained

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, 70, died from complications of lung cancer on Wednesday. His wife, Kathryn, announced his death on his radio show that same morning (via CBS News). Limbaugh, a lifelong smoker, first revealed his stage IV diagnosis on his show in February 2020. In October, Limbaugh confirmed that his cancer had progressed and his condition was terminal.

At the time, he noted that he was surprised he had lived past September. "Some days are harder than others," he said. "I do get fatigued now. I do get very, very tired now. I'm not gonna mislead you about that," she said on his radio show, per USA Today. "But I am extremely grateful to be able to come here to the studio and to maintain as much normalcy as possible."

While anyone can be diagnosed with lung cancer, around 90 percent of all cases are caused by smoking, according to the American Lung Association. Breathing in secondhand smoke can also increase your risk of getting lung cancer.

The importance of early detection

Limbaugh's death shines a spotlight on the severity of lung cancer and the importance of detecting it early. While lung cancer can be fatal, an early diagnosis can increase your chance of survival. Anywhere from 70 to 92 percent of people with stage 1 non-small cell lung cancer have a survival rate of at least five years, although many patients end up living even longer (via Verywell Health).

The key to increasing survival rates is early detection. That's why it's important to watch out for early signs and symptoms of lung cancer. Some early symptoms include a lingering cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, chest pain, hoarseness, and weight loss (via Healthline). In addition to watching out for early signs of lung cancer, low-dose CT screenings are recommended for people who currently smoke more than 30 packs per year, smokers between the ages of 55 and 80, and people who have smoked within the past 15 years.