As Lung Cancer Awareness Month, November is an ideal time to learn more about the leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States.
The American Cancer Society says about 80% of lung cancer deaths are believed to result from smoking, although some people who get the disease have no known risk factors.
Each year, more people die from lung cancer than from colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Not counting skin cancer, lung cancer is the second-most common cancer in both men (behind prostate cancer) and women (breast cancer). Nearly 14% of all new cancer cases are found in the lungs.
Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center offers CT lung screenings throughout the year as part of our cancer services. These screenings – which can be part of an annual health checkup routine for those considered high-risk – are meant for past or current smokers, with results reviewed at the time of testing, which costs just $95.
- Tobacco smoke: The more you smoke and the longer you’ve smoked, the greater your risks of lung cancer. Smoking “low-tar” cigarettes will not lessen your risk, while smoking menthol cigarettes may increase your risk due to their ability to allow the smoker to inhale more deeply. Secondhand smoke causes more than 7,000 deaths annually in people that don’t smoke.
- Exposure to radon: Radon is a scentless, colorless and invisible gas resulting from the breakdown of uranium. It is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking. It is found in the highest levels indoors in homes and buildings, particularly in basements.
- Asbestos exposure: Those who work with asbestos are several times more likely to get lung cancer than those who don’t. Jobsites such as mills, mines, shipyards, textile plants, and places where insulation is used are commonly associated with asbestos. Although asbestos is not used as much as it used to be, it’s still present in older homes and buildings.
- Race: Black men are about 20% more likely to get lung cancer than white men, while white women develop it at a 10% higher rate than black women. Although women develop lung cancer at a lower rate than men, the gap is narrowing.
- Age: Typically found in older people, the average age for someone diagnosed with lung cancer is 70.
Talk with your physician to see if a CT lung screening may be appropriate for you. For more information about Southeastern Med’s screenings, call 740-439-8930.