Did you know that lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women in the U.S.? In fact, lung cancer kills more of us each year than breast, prostate, colon, and rectal cancers combined.
Early detection is key
It is essential to have regular checkups with your physician to discuss your personal risk for developing lung cancer and other health concerns. Many people with lung cancer do not experience symptoms right away, so most lung cancer is found at an advanced or late stage in which treatment options have limited success.
Recent studies show that screening people at high risk of developing lung cancer helps find lung cancer when it is more treatable and potentially curable. Annual CT screenings that use low-dose radiation can detect 85 percent of early-stage lung cancers.
Diagnosing lung cancer
If you have a suspicious chest x-ray or CT scan, further testing may be necessary. A biopsy, or sample of the suspicious area, can see if cancer cells are present.
Doctors from both radiology and pulmonology work together to ensure you receive the best care possible.
A lung specialist (pulmonologist) can perform special procedures such as a bronchoscopy, in which the specialist puts a long, thin tube down the throat and into the airway to collect a sample.
“Electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy is a cutting-edge and safe technique that helps a pulmonologist reach lesions that would normally be difficult to biopsy. In combination with early detection, we hope to diagnose and treat patients with lung cancer sooner and improve outcomes,” says Ehab Hussein, DO, interventional pulmonologist at Kettering Medical Center.
Your physician may refer you to one of the expert pulmonologists at Kettering Health Network who perform this highly accurate, advanced procedure.
Reduce your risk
Making healthy life choices like not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active, and getting recommended screenings can prevent half of all cancer deaths.
The biggest risk factor is cigarette smoking. Your risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the number of years spent smoking. Cigar and pipe smoking also increase the risk of developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer isn’t limited to smokers. Whenever possible, avoid some lesser-known lung cancer risk factors, like exposure to radon gas released from the soil, asbestos, certain metals (chromium, cadmium, arsenic), some organic chemicals, radiation, air pollution, diesel exhaust, and paint fumes.