Lung cancer has no symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms occur, the disease has usually reached an advanced stage. At that point, symptoms can include
- Chest pain
- Coughing that does not improve within a few weeks
- Coughing up blood
- Weight loss
Because symptoms occur when the disease is so advanced, knowing your risks is extremely important.
Risks and Prevention
People are at a higher risk for developing lung cancer if they were exposed to the following behaviors and substances:
- The number one cause of lung cancer is smoking. It can be attributed to more than 85 to 90 percent of all lung cancer cases. Harmful substances in tobacco damage cells in the lungs. Stopping smoking greatly reduces a person's risk for developing lung cancer.
- A recent study by the National Cancer Institute found that screening current or former heavy smokers with a computed tomography (CT) scan can reduce deaths from lung cancer (by 20 percent among those ages 55-74 with a 30-pack year history of cigarette smoking.).
- This study is the first of its kinds to confirm a significant improvement in survival in high-risk smokers who undergo screening with CT scans.
- To determine the next step in getting screened for lung cancer, consider contacting MedStar Health at 1-877-715-HOPE for more information.
- Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as fibers and are used in certain industries. Asbestos fibers tend to break easily into particles that can float in the air and stick to clothes. When the particles are inhaled, they can lodge in the lungs, damaging cells and increasing the risk for lung cancer.
- Radon is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in soil and rocks. It can cause damage to the lungs and lead to lung cancer. Smokers who are exposed to radon or asbestos have an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
- Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or secondhand smoke, is called involuntary or passive smoking. People exposed to ETS or second-hand smoke are at risk for developing lung cancer.
- Lung diseases such as tuberculosis also increase a person's risk of developing lung cancer.
If caught in its early stages, up to 80 percent of lung cancer is potentially curable.
Smoking Cessation Program
MedStar Health offers a six-week program program designed to provide highly motivated adults with practical counseling, support and the encouragement needed to become smoke free. The cost is FREE, includes class instructions, program materials and convenient parking.
Learn more about Smoking Cessation and upcoming programs.
Learn More From Our Experts
For a physician referral, please call 1-877-715-HOPE.
MedStar Bel Air Medical Campus
12 MedStar Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21239
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Angelos Center for Lung Diseases
9103 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237
MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
5601 Loch Raven Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21239
MedStar Harbor Hospital
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225