Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both men and women in the U.S., yet it remains a largely silent epidemic. With a new diagnosis occurring every 2.5 minutes, it is time for us to start paying attention and start getting screened.
Cigarette smoking is the number 1 risk factor for lung cancer. According the CDC, it is linked to roughly 80% to 90% of lung cancers. If you are a smoker, you are 15 to 30 times more likely to develop the disease than a nonsmoker! Quit smoking now to help lower your risk. Secondhand smoke–inhaling the smoke from someone else’s cigarette or tobacco product–can also lead to lung cancer.
Radon, a radioactive gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer, accounting for about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium and occurs in soil, igneous rocks, and sometimes well water. The US EPA estimates that as many as 8 million homes throughout the country have elevated levels of radon. Make sure your home is tested for this dangerous gas and use proven ways to lower radon levels.
Getting Screened for Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is most treatable when caught early, and screening may help save lives. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends yearly lung cancer screening for people who are between 55 and 80 years old, have a history of heavy smoking, and smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of screening for lung cancer.