Are you at higher risk for lung cancer?

We're here to help you understand why you may be at risk of developing lung cancer.

We recognize that the thought of being at high risk for lung cancer can be extremely nerve-wracking. Whether you have a history of smoking or other contributing factors, please know that you do not have to face this alone. Our team is here to provide the support and guidance you need.

By undergoing regular screenings, you can find comfort in knowing that you are proactively monitoring your health, offering you peace of mind. Early detection is key, as it significantly increases the chances of successful treatment.

Discover how you could be eligible for a preventive screening.

Annual lung cancer screenings can help detect cancer early, when it is the most treatable, and increases the likelihood of a positive outcome.

We recommend one low-dose CT scan each year for a minimum of three years for individuals between the ages of 50* and 77 who are at high risk for lung cancer. These risk factors include:

  • Active smoker who have 20* or more pack-years of cigarette smoking history (pack-years = packs per day x years smoked)
  • Former smokers who quit within the past 15 years

If you don’t fall into these groups, you may not be eligible or benefit from this preventive screening. To be eligible for the preventive screening, you must not:

  • Have had a cancer diagnosis in the last three years or five years for lung cancer
  • Be on oxygen therapy 24/7

  • Be coughing up blood recently or any other symptoms of lung cancer

If you are eligible, you will be scheduled for a low-dose CT scan at a location near you. However, if you do not fall into one of these groups, you may be eligible for different screenings and tests. Speak with your primary care physician to determine what is right for you.

*Insurance dependent based on new screening guidelines.

Lung cancer symptoms, additional risk factors, and screenings.

If you are not eligible for the preventive screening, speak to your primary care physician to determine if you would benefit from other screenings and tests, especially if you have other lung cancer risk factors or symptoms.

Other lung cancer risk factors include:

  • Smoking tobacco, with the risk increasing with the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the duration of smoking
  • Secondhand smoke exposure

  • Exposure to high levels of radon gas, a natural occurring radioactive gas that can seep into buildings

  • Prolonged exposure to certain workplace substances and chemicals such as asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel, coal products, diesel exhaust, and certain industrial chemicals

  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Preexisting lung disease, such a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pulmonary fibrosis

  • Long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution, including particulate matter, chemicals and other toxins

  • Certain inherited genetic mutations, such as mutations in the EGFR gene

It’s important to keep in mind that although these risk factors can raise the chances of developing lung cancer, it doesn’t mean that that you will necessarily develop the disease. Similarly, there are instances where individuals without these risk factors might still develop lung cancer.

While lung cancer may not always present with noticeable symptoms in its early stages, it's important to be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Hoarseness

  • Weight loss and loss of appetite

  • Fatigue

  • Recurrent respiratory infections
  • Wheezing

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Swelling in the neck or face

  • Coughing up blood

Remember that these symptoms can be caused by other factors unrelated to lung cancer.

If you have any concerns about your personal risk of lung cancer, we encourage you to talk to your provider. Your provider is there to support you and address any questions or worries you may have. They can provide personalized recommendations and referrals to ensure that you receive the necessary screenings and tests to assess your lung health. Remember, talking to your provider about your concerns is an important step towards taking control of your well-being.

The benefits of screening and early detection.

Active older woman with white hair smiling while walking near water

Preventive screening for lung cancer has many key benefits, including early detection, improved survival rates if diagnosed, identification of high-risk individuals, and empowerment and peace of mind.

Overview of the screening process.

Lung cancer screenings typically involve regular examination for individuals at high risk for developing the disease. During a lung cancer screening you can anticipate a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a member of our multispecialty team (MST).

The most common preventative screening is a low-dose CT scan, a painless imaging technique that utilizes a small amount of radiation to create a detailed image of the lungs. You may also be recommended for other types of screenings and tests through our diagnostic clinic after your preventive screening.

While everyone may have a different screening experience, regular communication with your providers is crucial throughout the screening process to address any questions or concerns you may have.

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Early detection is the most powerful tool against a lung cancer diagnosis.

Smoking cessation services

Studies have found that smokers who quit are more likely to recover from cancer than those who continue to smoke. If you quit smoking, you can reduce your risk factors significantly.

Smoking cessation program: Our cancer center smoking cessation program allows you to meet one-on-one with a nurse practitioner who is a certified tobacco treatment specialist. Most insurance providers cover this service, but it is best to contact your insurance company directly to confirm coverage.

Free tobacco and nicotine treatment services: There are programs available for all stages of readiness and on an ongoing basis. All classes are conducted virtually through Microsoft Teams.