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Sharp Health News

Lung cancer: are you at risk? (infographic)

Nov. 17, 2016

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the U.S. Yet, many people don't know they are sick until the disease has reached later stages.

According to Dr. Asha Devereaux, a board-certified pulmonologist affiliated with Sharp Coronado Hospital, advanced screening techniques can find lung cancers as small as a grain of rice, and before many symptoms become apparent, allowing earlier treatment — and a higher chance of survival.

Ask yourself the following questions to see if a lung cancer screening may be right for you.

Lung cancer: are you at risk? (infographic). Lung cancer causes more deaths each year than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. But one of the best ways to beat it is to catch it early. Know your risks so you can better determine whether or not a screening may be right for you. The following are the deadliest cancers: Lung and bronchus 154,050. Colorectum 50,630. Pancreatic 44,330. Breast 41,400. Prostate 29,430. Lung cancer symptoms often aren't noticeable until the disease is spread to other parts of the body, resulting in a majority of stage three or four lung cancer diagnoses. Although anyone can get lung cancer, cigarette smoking is the number one cause. Smoking is responsible for roughly 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer cases. Determining your risk. When it comes to cancer screening, your doctor is your best resource for deciding what is appropriate and when. But if you answer yes to any of the below questions, a screening may be right for you. Are you 55 or older? Have you ever smoked cigarettes? Have you smoked within the past 15 years? Is your pack year number at least 30? (Calculate your pack year number by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes you smoke, or have smoked, per day times the number of years you have smoked.) Tobacco use in any form increases the risk for development of cancer, says Dr. Asha Devereaux, a pulmonologist affiliated with Sharp Coronado Hospital. It is never too late to quit using tobacco. It is also important to remain vigilant and ask your physician for further counseling, screenings and evaluation. The Cancer Centers at Sharp HealthCare are now using lifesaving, low-dose CT scans. By rotating in a spiral motion, they take several x-rays of the lungs. It is a fast, painless procedure that has been shown to reduce the number of lung cancer deaths for those at highest risk. Radiation from the scan is so low, it is the equivalent of 15 traditional x-rays. If you or a loved one are interested in scheduling a screening, please talk to your doctor about a referral to one of our locations. For more information, visit sharp.com/lung screening. The statistics in this infographic were provided by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

View the printable version of this infographic.

This story was updated in August 2018 to include new statistics on cancer deaths.

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