I’m Not a Smoker – Am I Still at Risk for Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer is an insidious and deadly form of cancer that is often detected too late and can quickly metastasize (spread to other parts of the body). According to the CDC, lung cancer kills more people than any other type of cancer and is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. While most people attribute lung cancer to cigarette smoking, you do not have to be a smoker to get lung cancer.
Causes of Lung Cancer
Cigarettes are the number-one cause of lung cancer, but it’s not just the smoker who has an increased risk of getting the cancer. Anyone who is exposed to the second-hand smoke is also at risk. But cigarettes are not the only cause of lung cancer – people also get lung cancer from environmental exposure to substances like radon and asbestos or air pollution. You can also get lung cancer if it runs in your family.
What Are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?
The symptoms of lung cancer are sometimes ignored. It often begins with a persistent cough that people dismiss as a cold or irritation. But a persistent cough, combined with coughing up blood, headaches, shortness of breath, bone pain, or sudden weight loss is cause for concern. Even if you don’t think you have lung cancer, it is best to see your physician and have them rule it out than to wait and see. If you are healthy but have a history of lung cancer in your family, or if you are a smoker or former smoker, you may want to schedule a lung cancer screening.
Early Treatment Can Save Your Life
While not everyone needs lung cancer screening, if you have been exposed to environmental toxins, like radon or secondhand smoke, annual screening can detect lung cancer early enough for more successful treatment.
If you are interested in undergoing lung cancer screening or if you want to find out more about early detection measures, contact our NYC office to make an appointment with Dr. Marc Bowen.