Understanding Your Risk for Lung Cancer

Alveoli in lungs - blood saturating by oxygen

Because lung cancer tends to go undiagnosed until the later stages of the disease, it is among the most fatal types of cancer. Patients will typically not notice symptoms that would prompt a chest CT scan or X-ray until the lung cancer has progressed significantly, so knowing your risk factors is important for early identification. There are some critical indicators that may lead you to consider seeing a doctor about lung cancer screening, and these are listed below for your self-assessment to determine lung cancer risk.

  • Advancing age: Lung cancer is typically not seen in younger individuals, so screening becomes more important for patients between the ages of 55 and 74. If you are in this age group, being vocal about your cancer concerns with your doctor can guide you to the right types of screening and preventative measures.
  • Exposure to smoke: Individuals who smoke or have regularly smoked cigarettes are at the highest risk for lung cancer. The disease is seen in non-smoking individuals, but these cases are not as common. You can determine how much smoking has affected your cancer risk by calculating your “pack years” from your smoking history. Multiply the number of packs you smoked per day by the number of years you smoked. If the total is over 20, it is a major concern for lung cancer.
  • Cancer history: If you have never been diagnosed with cancer and you have a high risk because of the other factors listed above, lung cancer screening will help you maintain good health and reduce the worry of this potentially devastating condition. A family history of lung cancer is another reason to consider screening for yourself, as there are genetic factors that can increase your risk.

At Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center , we are working to make lung cancer screening available to all adults in need with affordable, low-risk CT scans from our radiology department. Our radiologists are board certified, and screening is performed by those who specialize in the field of lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. Call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (702) 233-5300 or visit our website to schedule your screening with us.

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