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Lung Cancer Screening & Risks

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Lung Cancer
Risk Factors

What are the risk factors for lung cancer?

According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the following are all lung cancer risk factors:​

  • Tobacco use

  • Radon exposure

  • Occupational exposure (asbestos, diesel fuel, etc.)

  • Air pollution

  • Cancer history (lymphoma and other cancers)

  • Radiation therapy to chest area

  • Family history of lung cancer

  • History of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pulmonary fibrosis

  • Second-hand smoke exposure

Lung Cancer Screening Criteria

Annual lung cancer screening is recommended if:

  • You are at least 50 years old

  • You currently smoke or even if you quit years ago

  • You have a 20 pack-year smoking history

For more information about lung cancer screening, see the National Comprehensive Cancer Network lung cancer screening guidelines for patients: https://www.nccn.org/patients/guidelines/content/PDF/lung_screening-patient.pdf

Low Dose CT Scans

A low-dose CT scan is completely non-invasive, quick, and painless. You will need to lie on a table that slides in and out of the scan machine while it takes multiple pictures of your chest. Nothing more!

What is a Pack-Year?

A pack-year is calculated as:

Packs of cigarettes smoked per day

Years smoked

Pack Years

For example, if you smoke one pack of cigarettes a day over 20 years, you have a 20 pack-year smoking history.

Cancer Facts

Read this section then take the Cancer Challenge below.

  1. Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of men and women. Lung cancer kills nearly three times as many people as colorectal cancer, which is the second leading cancer killer. Lung cancer also claims nearly three times as many lives as breast cancer and nearly four times as many lives as prostate cancer.

  2. Radon, an odorless, invisible radioactive gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Testing your home for radon is inexpensive and easy. Mitigating a radon problem can be fast, effective, and economical.

  3. Lung cancer screening uses annual low-dose CT to find lung cancer early, when it is potentially curable.

  4. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends lung cancer screening for people who are at least age 50 with at least a 20 “pack year” smoking history. (Pack years are calculated by multiplying the number of packs smoked by the number of years smoked.)

  5. People who quit smoking—even many years ago—may also qualify for lung cancer screening if they meet smoking history and age guidelines.

 

(Lung cancer screening is covered by most insurance.)

Lung Cancer Challenge

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