Written by on 2/12/2014 6:30:00 PM
We sat down with radiation oncologist and MD Anderson Cancer Network® certified physician, Jack Wei, M.D., to discuss questions surrounding the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.
- Is there a link between lung cancer and smoking?Yes, smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer. There can be other factors, but this is the number one cause.
- Are smokers at the highest risk for lung cancer?Yes, current smokers are the highest risk. Former smokers who’ve quit within the past 15 years, are between 55-80 years of age and have a 30 pack-year history of smoking are at a very high risk, too.
- Are people who have quit smoking still at risk for lung cancer? Yes, quitters are still at risk. Their risk is lowered when they stop smoking for an extended period of time, but it’s still recommended they get a lung screening to determine the health of their lungs.
- Are people exposed to second-hand smoke at risk for lung cancer? Yes, frequent exposure to second-hand smoke can put people at risk for cancer development.
- Is lung cancer common? Yes, it’s actually the #1 cancer killer in Indiana. There were 5,500 cases last year in our state and 4,110 deaths.
- What are lung cancer symptoms? There can be many, but shortness of breath, frequent cough, coughing blood or pain in chest are most common.
- What are the most common types of lung cancer? There are two common forms. Non-small cell is the most common, affecting 85 percent of cases. Only 15 percent of lung cancer patients are diagnosed with the second called small cell.
- How is lung cancer treated? If the cancer is just in the lung, it is generally treated through surgery or radiation therapy. If it has spread from the lung to other areas of the body, chemotherapy is used.
- How do I know if I am at high risk, or have lung cancer? Getting a lung screening is the best way to identify your cancer risk and find cancerous cells. Community has low-dose CT scans for $99.
- What is a low-dose CT scan? A high-speed CT scanner is used to capture high-resolution images of the lungs with limited ionizing radiation. A radiation oncologist will then review your images for any abnormalities. The examination is simple, safe and painless (no needles) and there are no diet restrictions. The scan itself takes less than one minute. You can schedule your appointment online right now!
Ask Dr. Wei
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