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What are the risk factors for lung cancer?

The strongest risk factors for lung cancer are:


• Exposure to second-hand smoke;

Working with materials such as asbestos, arsenic, nickel and petroleum products, especially if you are a smoker;

Exposure to radon gas.


What are the tests available today?

If lung cancer is suspected after a physical examination and a discussion of your symptoms, your health care provider may recommend the following tests:

1. Imaging studies use x-rays, ultrasounds or other scanning techniques to look more closely at your lungs;

2. A sputum test involves having samples of the phlegm from your lungs checked for cancer cells;

3. Blood tests show different hormones and chemicals in your blood and may indicate whether cancer is present;

4. A biopsy is usually necessary to make a diagnosis of cancer. A biopsy involves having tissue removed from your lungs and examined under a microscope.

Even though lung cancer might be detected at an earlier stage by regular x-rays in cigarette smokers, studies have shown that there is no improvement in long term survival.


What is my chance of getting the disease and then dying from it?

Lung cancer, despite being the most preventable type of cancer, is the leading cause of cancer death in Canadian men and women.

Men: 1 in 12 men will develop lung cancer and 1 in 13 will die from it.

Women: 1 in 16 women will develop lung cancer and 1 in 18 will die from it.


What is the current recommendation?

Lung cancer is the most preventable of all cancers and you can take an active role in protecting yourself by not smoking and avoiding air quality hazards like asbestos, residential radon and second hand smoke.

Symptoms such as breathing problems, frequent lung infections, increased amount of phlegm or blood in your phlegm, chest pain and/or trouble swallowing should be discussed with your health care provider.





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