Overlake Pulmonologist Shares Top 4 Lung Cancer Risk Factors

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What are the top four risk factors for lung cancer?

Smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. The more you smoke, the greater your risk. One in 16 people who smoke cigarettes will be diagnosed with lung cancer. About 90% of lung cancer cases could be prevented by eliminating tobacco use, according to the World Health OrganizationThe good news is, you can significantly reduce your risk by quitting smokingeven if you’ve smoked for a long time. 

Nurse listens to man's lungs.

While smoking greatly increases your lung cancer risk, many people who never smoked also get the disease. Women who have never smoked are more likely to get lung cancer than never-smoking men.

Other risk factors include:

  • Being exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Getting radiation therapy for another cancer.
  • Living in places with polluted air.

Why is screening for lung cancer important and who should get screened?

Lung cancer doesn’t usually cause noticeable symptoms in its early stages. Symptoms begin when the disease becomes more advanced. That’s why it’s so important to get regularly screened if you’re at risk. Lung cancer outcomes greatly improve if detected early. This will help doctors monitor your health and potentially catch lung cancer before it spreads.

Lung cancer screening is a commitment, not a one-time event, and screening is not a substitute for quitting smoking. Overlake Cancer Center conducts more than 100 screenings per year and follows the latest guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which recommends that you undergo lung cancer screening every year if:

You’re between 50 and 80 years old, in relatively good health and:

  • You smoke or have quit smoking within 15 years.
  • You smoked for at least 20 “pack years.” To figure out your pack years, multiply the number of packs you smoked per day by the number of years that you smoked.

We’re here for you no matter where you are in your cancer journey, whether you’re worried that you’re at risk of getting lung cancer, or have been diagnosed with the disease and want to learn more about our innovative treatments.

Call us today with any questions or to make an appointment: 425.635.3400For more information on lung cancer and how to get screened, visit our website at overlakehospital.org/lungcancer

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