Lung Cancer: Risks and Awareness

The following is sponsored by Salt Lake Regional Medical Center

By Dr. Keith Lane, Salt Lake Regional Medical Center

Each year, about 160,000 Americans lose their lives to lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. In fact, one out of every four cancer deaths are from lung cancer.

Thankfully, we now know more about the disease and its risk factors. Exposure to things like asbestos, radon, diesel exhaust, air pollution, and chemicals and toxins found in cigarettes can all lead to lung cancer. While these are not the only causes of lung cancer, avoiding exposure to these harmful substances can decrease your chances of developing it.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and we want patients from Salt Lake Regional Medical Center and throughout the community to know the preventative steps that you and your loved ones can take to reduce the risk of this often deadly disease.

1. Avoid smoking cigarettes and secondhand smoke. Research shows that 80% of lung cancer deaths in the United States are caused by smoking. Current smokers are encouraged to quit.
2. Test your home for radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that can lead to lung cancer. Radon can emit naturally from the rocks and soil below and around your home, and has been linked to lung cancer.
3. Eat right and exercise. Eating vitamin- and nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, and exercising as often as you can reduce your risk of all cancers, including lung cancer.
4. Know your family’s medical history. The more information you are able to provide your doctor with regard to family history of cancer, the better your doctor will be able to evaluate your risks and determine the best treatment.
5. Get regular check-ups. Going to your doctor for regularly scheduled checkups can help make sure you detect a potential cancer diagnosis early, which increases the chances of successfully beating it.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one might have lung cancer or are at risk of developing it, it is critical to talk to a doctor as soon as possible. At Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, we recommend an annual Low Dose CT screening for men and women between 55 to 80 years-old who have a history of smoking, currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. The screening has been proven to reduce morbidity rates from lung cancer by 20 percent.

Ultimately, the most effective step anyone can take in preventing and protecting themselves against lung cancer is to educate themselves on the risk factors. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to engage with your physician.

To find a doctor and make an appointment with one of Salt Lake Regional Medical Center’s highly experienced physicians visit Steward DoctorFinder™.