What you need to know if you are concerned about lung cancer | American Lung Association

What you need to know if you are concerned about lung cancer

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There may be several reasons why you are concerned about lung cancer. Maybe you or someone you know has risk factors or symptoms. Or maybe you know someone with lung cancer and you want to know if you are at risk. You are doing the right thing by seeking out more information. Trust your instincts, gather information and consult with your doctor. Below are the four key topics you should know about if you are concerned about lung cancer.

1) Know the risk factors.

Your chances of getting lung cancer increase when you are exposed to more than one risk factor. Smoking is the greatest risk factor, but secondhand smoke, exposure to radon gas and other hazardous chemicals are also risk factors.

2) Discuss screening with your doctor if you are high risk.

Lung cancer screening is recommended for those who meet specific criteria based on smoking status and age. This screening helps look for cancer before a person has any symptoms.

3) Know the symptoms.

Often lung cancer symptoms are dismissed as other issues like allergies or bronchitis. If you feel shortness of breath, have a cough that won’t go away, cough up blood, or experience weight loss and fatigue, talk to your doctor immediately and be persistent.

4) Talk with your doctor about tumor testing before the biopsy.

If your doctor suspects you have lung cancer, he or she will likely suggest you get a CT scan. If your doctor wants to perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis you have lung cancer, ask that your tumor be tested for biomarkers using comprehensive genomic testing. The information you receive as a result of genomic testing impacts your treatment options and could save you from needing another biopsy.


    Approved by Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 18, 2017.

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