In light of the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's Report on smoking and health, and the recent announcement from CVS that they will ban tobacco products from their stores by October, we asked our experts to weigh in. Are people who smoke really more likely to get lung cancer?
Jack Wei, M.D., is a radiation oncologist and MD Anderson Cancer Network™ certified physician at Community Health Network.
Who is at the highest risk for lung cancer?
"Current or former smokers are at highest risk for lung cancer development," said Dr. Jack Wei. "This risk does decrease with time after a patient quits smoking; however, the overall risk of lung cancer development never returns to the same level as someone who has never smoked. Nevertheless, it is clear that quitting smoking does significantly decrease the risk of lung cancer development."
The American Cancer Society Cancer Surveillance Report for 2013 states there were 5,500 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed last year in Indiana, and 4,110 men and women died from lung cancer. Individuals identified as high risk are defined as current smokers or former smokers who have quit within the past 15 years, are between 55-80 years of age, and have a 30 pack-year history of smoking (e.g., 1 pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years).
"We are encouraging these adults in our community to be screened for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan," said Wei. "Studies show that low-dose CT scans are superior to chest x-rays for lung cancer screening."
Schedule a $99 lung screening
The new guidelines for lung cancer screenings encourage those at risk to get a low-dose CT scan. If you are 50 to 80 years of age and have a history of smoking, a screening can provide peace of mind and/or early diagnosis. Community offers a painless, low-dose screening and now, you can schedule only two hours in advance. Schedule an appointment online today!