Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Knowing the risks and warning signs

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and specialists at Vidant Health are reminding everyone to be aware of the risk factors and warning signs.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer among men and women nationwide and is the leading cause of cancer death in North Carolina and the U.S.

Courtney Johnson, Thoracic Oncology Program Coordinator, Special Medical Services at Vidant Health, says one of the most important actions to preserve your lung health is to know your risks. Johnson says smoking and vaping are among the primary causes of lung cancer. She says quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke can lower your risks.

It’s also important to have your home tested for radon. This gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in smokers and the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Researchers estimate that radon contributes to about 2,900 lung cancer diagnoses.

Other substances at work or in your home, including asbestos, arsenic, nickel and chromium can lower your exposure.

If you have a history of heavy smoking, smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years and are between the ages of 55-80, you’re encouraged to be screened yearly with a low-dose CT scan.

Teresa Parent, Oncology Nurse Navigator at Vidant Health says low-dose CT scans are able to better detect early stage cancer than chest X-rays and allow for earlier treatment. It takes less than 10 minutes and no medications are given.

If you are at risk and meet the requirements for a lung cancer screening, you should talk to your provider about getting a low dose CT scan. For more information, or if you do not have a primary care provider, contact the Prevention Clinic at Vidant Cancer Care at (252) 816-RISK (7475).

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