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Lung Cancer Screening

Lung Cancer is the second most common cancer in the U.S. When detected in an early stage, experts estimate that people have a better than 80% chance of being cured and increase their 5 year survival rate.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread. If you go to your doctor when you first notice symptoms, your cancer might be diagnosed at an earlier stage. Most of the symptoms listed below could also be caused by something other than lung cancer.

  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
    Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back

If lung cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it may cause:

  • Bone pain
  • Nervous system changes (such as headache, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures)
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Swelling of lymph nodes

Lung Cancer Screening

If lung cancer is found at an earlier stage, when it is small and before it has spread, it is more likely to be treated successfully. A lung cancer screening is recommended for certain people who smoke or used to smoke, but who don't have any signs or symptoms.

A low-dose CT (LDCT) scan can help find abnormal areas in the lungs that may be cancerous. Research has shown that unlike chest x-rays, yearly LDCT scans to screen people at higher risk of lung cancer can save lives. Usually symptoms of lung cancer don't appear until the disease is already at an advanced stage. Even when lung cancer does cause symptoms, many people may mistake them for other problems

CBCC provides free lung cancer screenings during the month of November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, for those who meet the screening guidelines.

Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines:

  • Age 50-80 years old
  • Current smoker or have quit smoking within the past 15 years
  • Have a 20 pack year smoking history (packs per day multiplied by years smoked)

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

Research has found several risk factors that may increase your chances of getting lung cancer. The most common risk factors, smokers, people exposed to secondhand smoke or poor air quality, should monitor their lung health and consider yearly lung cancer screenings.


Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 80% of lung cancer deaths are thought to result from smoking. The longer you smoke and the more packs a day you smoke, the greater your risk. Cigar smoking and pipe smoking are almost as likely to cause lung cancer as cigarette smoking. The same risk is associated with smoking low-tar or “light” cigarettes. Smoking menthol cigarettes could increase the risk even more.

Secondhand Smoke

If you don’t smoke, breathing in the smoke of others (called secondhand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke) can increase your risk of developing lung cancer. The American Cancer Society says secondhand smoke is thought to cause more than 7,000 deaths from lung cancer each year.

Other Factors

Exposure to radon, asbestos, radioactive ores, diesel exhaust or other cancer-causing agents in the workplace.

Uncertain Factors

Marijuana smoke contains tar and many of the same cancer-causing substances that are in cigarettes or tobacco smoke. It’s been hard to study whether there is a link between marijuana and lung cancer because marijuana has been illegal for so long and it has been difficult to study. More research is needed to know the cancer risks from smoking marijuana.

Vape devices and E-cigarettes are types of electronic nicotine delivery systems. E-cigarettes are fairly new and more research is needed to know what the long-term effects might be, including the risk of developing lung cancer.

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Main Number

(661) 322-2206

Patient Navigation

(661) 865-2573

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center TRIO-US Site

© 2022 Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Sitemap | Home