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Doctors advise smokers to schedule cancer screenings to prevent lung cancer

Posted at 11:01 AM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 12:01:34-05

WACO, Texas — November is lung cancer awareness month, a time to encourage those at risk from the disease to get screenings and raise awareness.

Lung cancer makes up almost a quarter of all cancer deaths in the U.S.

"It remains, despite all of the advances of treatment over the last five years, one of the leading causes of cancer-related mortality,” said Dr. Clay Gowan, an oncologist a Baylor Scott & White.

And cigarettes are what's behind the burning increase.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, cigarette sales spiked for the first time in two decades last year, giving Texas cancer doctors concern that we're headed in the wrong direction.

“The only way that we are going to reduce the morbidity and mortality of this is really through prevention and early diagnosis,” Gowan said.

But, symptoms aren't that easy to spot on the outside.

Dr. Gowan said that there are a few things to watch out for, such as increasing cough or shortness of breath.

But, he says the disease is hard to detect in the early stages, which is why doctors are creating lung cancer screening strategies tailored to the patient.

“Those patients who are at risk for lung cancer who are smokers or have a history of smoking, those patients should be seeing their primary care doctors,” Gowan said.

Disposable e-cigs are a popular habit with sales increasing 42% from February of 2020 to March of 2021. Doctors warn that they are still dangerous for your lungs.

And, the best way to avoid lung cancer is by kicking the habit, and Gowan hopes more patients will choose their health.

“I would encourage any individual who is a smoker or a former smoker to have a discussion with their primary care physician about employing a smoking secession strategy,” Gowan said.