Lung Cancer Prevention
- Do not smoke. Smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer and can shorten life expectancy by 10 years.
- Avoid secondhand smoke. More than 7,300 people in the U.S. die annually from lung cancer as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Take precautions at work. Exposure to certain types of fumes, dust, and chemicals can cause lung cancer.
- Test your home for radon. Radon exposure varies by geographic region. Most of Texas has low levels of radon and does not require mitigation. If there are concerns, the following may be helpful:
- Radon is a radioactive gas that cannot be seen, felt, or tasted.
- Some homes are built on soil with natural occurring deposits, like uranium, which can create high levels of radon that can seep into the home.
- Long-term radon exposure increases your risk for lung cancer.
- Radon detection kits, as well as EPA-suggested professionals, can be used to test your home for radon.
- Get screened. People ages 50 to 80 who have smoked, on average, a pack of cigarettes daily for 20 years, and who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years are at a higher risk for lung cancer and should consider an annual low-dose CT to screen for lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Treatment
Lung cancer, depending on the stage, may be treated by a team of specialists, including pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Treatment options vary depending on the stage and type of the cancer, the patient’s symptoms and overall health, and a variety of other factors. Lung cancer found at an early stage may be curable with surgery alone or with chemotherapy after surgery, and a small number of lung cancer cases that have spread to nearby organs can be cured with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Targeted therapies may be beneficial in lung cancers with certain gene mutations, which can be identified by molecular testing. Immunotherapy, with which drugs reduce a tumor’s resistance to the body’s immune system, have become an important addition to standard treatments. Radiation therapy, proton therapy, and palliative care are other treatment options. Clinical trials evaluating new therapies for lung cancer may be available to patients.