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Article originally posted November, 2021. 

Each November, amid dropping temperatures and planning for the holidays, we look forward to celebrating and remembering those impacted by lung cancer. While not always the first thought when cancer comes to mind, lung cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in both men and women, not including skin cancers. The chance a man will develop lung cancer during his lifetime is 1 in 15, and the risk for women is 1 in 17.

For 2021, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be about 235,760 new cases of lung cancer and about 131,880 deaths from lung cancer.

Each year more people die from lung cancer than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined – almost 25% of all cancer deaths.

In positive news, the number of new lung cancers has decreased because more people are quitting smoking, and early detection and treatment have improved

Lower your risk of lung cancer:

  • Quit smoking – including pipe tobacco, marijuana and e-cigarettes
  • Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables
  • Monitor your exposure to radon gas
    • Purchase a radon test kit at most home improvement stores or at www.epa.gov
  • Monitor exposure to asbestos and other environmental factors, such as arsenic, beryllium or air pollution from vehicle and diesel exhaust

Risk factors for lung cancer that you cannot control:

  • Age – average age at diagnosis is 70
  • Previous radiation treatment to the lungs
  • Personal or family history of lung cancer
  • Air pollution
  • Other health-related issues, such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis

Lung cancer screening with a low dose CT scan before symptoms become evident is the only proven method of detecting lung cancer at its earliest stage, when it is most treatable and curable. Screenings are covered by most private and commercial insurance plans, and financial assistance is available for those who qualify.

Lung cancer screening guidelines:

  • Age 55-77
  • Smoking history of 1 pack per day for 30 years, or 2 packs per day for 15 years
  • Current smoker or quit smoking within the last 15 years
  • Doctor’s referral is required

By appointment only. To find out if you qualify and to schedule your appointment, call 740-687-8134. For general questions, contact Holly Griffith at 740-689-6889.

Fairfield Medical Center also offers a tobacco cessation program designed to help tobacco users kick the habit. To learn more, click here.

Source: American Cancer Society