Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Awareness and Prevention

Lung cancer is often diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, largely because there are few or no symptoms in the early stages. Having an awareness of the risks and reducing them, plus early detection, can change a person’s outcome.

Reducing the Risk of Lung Cancer

The most common cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoking, which is linked to 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer cases. People who quit smoking have a lower risk of lung cancer than if they had continued to smoke, but their risk is higher than the risk for people who never smoked. Quitting smoking at any age can lower the risk of lung cancer. 

UT Southwestern offers a nicotine cessation program to help anyone quit smoking or stop using other nicotine products. Our program offers a supportive, educational environment that provides options, resources, and support at no cost to help people overcome nicotine addiction. Call 888-980-6050 for details. 

Secondhand smoke also contributes to lung cancer and should be avoided. 

Inhaling chemicals such as radon at a workplace can also cause lung cancer. People who work around chemicals should take safety precautions and use breathing equipment or masks. 

The odds for developing lung cancer are higher for those who have a family history of lung cancer or a history of lung disease. 

Early Detection

Early detection and diagnosis of lung cancer are major factors in treatment strategy and can improve a person’s chances for a successful outcome. 

For those at high risk for lung cancer, UT Southwestern, in partnership with MD Anderson Cancer Center, offers a computed tomography (CT) screening test, possibly at no cost to the patient, that can detect lung cancer early. 

This screening program is for patients who:

  • Are 55 years of age or older
  • Smoked at least the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years
  • Have no recent history of lung cancer
  • Do not have symptoms of lung cancer identified by a doctor

Alicia's Story

Alicia Ford-Anderson has seen up close and personal what lung cancer can do. She lost her husband to the disease and wondered whether her own long history of smoking – begun during the “glam” days of the ’60s – had damaged her singing voice and perhaps taken years from her own life. A CT screening for lung cancer gave her the answers she sought, and now she’s singing its praises.