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Lung Cancer: Know your risks. Know your options.

By Christian Meagher on 11/14/2014
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death around the world, but it can be treated effectively if those most susceptible know their risk. 

The key to finding cancer at the earliest stage is not only knowing the symptoms, but also taking stock of your lifestyle. 

It’s no secret that smoking causes lung cancer. Approximately 87 percent of all lung cancer deaths can be attributed to smoking, and each year about 3,400 nonsmoking adults die from lung cancer as a result of breathing second-hand smoke. Other risk factors include occupational or environmental exposure to asbestos, metals (such as chromium, cadmium, and arsenic), some organic chemicals, radiation, air pollution, diesel exhaust, paint, and exposure during work in rubber manufacturing, paving, roofing, and chimney sweeping.

Diagnosis often comes too late

The statistics for lung cancer are staggering. 

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 159,260 deaths in 2014 due to lung cancer – this represents 27 percent of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer overtook breast cancer in the late 1980s as the leading cancer killer among US women and now claims more lives than breast, ovarian and cervical cancers combined. 

One of the reasons lung cancer is so deadly is that there are little to no symptoms until the cancer has progressed into the later – and less treatable - stages. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, more than 85 percent of the men and women diagnosed with lung cancer are diagnosed in the late stage when the survival rate is very low. If the cancer is found in Stage I, the study found that 88 percent of the individuals diagnosed lived for 10 or more years.

Don’t wait

Longtime, heavy smokers and those who have been exposed to these environmental factors over a long period of time could benefit from early detection options, including X-rays, CT scans and needle aspirations. A recent clinical trial by the National Lung Screening Research Team found that individuals at high risk for lung cancer could decrease their chance of lung cancer death by 20 percent if given regular low-dose CT scans.  

Griffin Hospital’s Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening Program offers free scans to individuals who are at high risk for lung cancer.

Learn more

In recognition of The Great American Smokeout, the hospital will host a free talk entitled “Lung Cancer: Know Your Risks, Know Your Options” at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18 in the hospital’s Meditation and Learning Center.

Presented by Pulmonary Specialist K. Marya Chaisson, MD, Thoracic/Vascular Surgeon Richard P. Salzano, MD, and Smoking Cessation Coach Carrie O’Malley, RN, the talk will discuss the causes of lung cancer, its warning signs, screening options and Griffin Hospital’s free smoking cessation program. Attendees will be able to take a free evaluation to see if they are at high risk for lung cancer, and may be eligible to receive a free low-dose CT lung cancer screening. 

This talk is part of Griffin Hospital's Healthy U “Tuesday Talks,” a series of free wellness talks featuring Griffin Hospital medical experts and community partners providing trusted health information and answers to questions on a wide range of topics. All Tuesday Talks are held in Griffin Hospital’s Meditation and Learning Center at 130 Division Street in Derby. Light refreshments will be served.  

To reserve your spot or for more information, call 203.732.1511 or register at griffinhealth.org.

cancer screening
CT low dose
Healthy U
lung cancer
smoking cessation