Reduce Your Risk for Lung Cancer

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There are few words as frightening as “you have lung cancer.” The good news is you can greatly reduce your risk for lung cancer with one decision: Don’t smoke.

If you do smoke and want to quit, there is also good news. Making the decision to stop smoking, vaping or using any form of nicotine has near-immediate health benefits, and there are many resources available to help you on your journey.

Lung Cancer Data

Although there have been notable strides in early detection and treatment, lung cancer still accounts for about 27 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States. It remains the leading cause of cancer death for men and women, outpacing colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, linked to about 80 percent of deaths from the disease. Even smoking a few cigarettes a day has a negative impact. However, your risk for lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses continues to decrease the longer you don’t smoke.

Health Benefits of Quitting Nicotine

Although it isn’t easy, the sooner you quit nicotine, the more you can reduce your risk of getting cancer and other diseases. According to the American Cancer Society:

  • Within just 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • In 2 weeks to 3 months, your circulation improves and lung function increases.
  • In 1 to 12 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Your lungs start to regain normal function.
  • In 1-2 years, your risk of heart attack drops dramatically.
  • After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking (after 10-15 years). Your risk of cancer of the bladder, esophagus, and kidney decrease.
  • After 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease is close to that of a non-smoker.

Smoking Cessation Help

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health offers a variety of resources to help people quit nicotine:

Telephone Coaching: Free personal appointments with a tobacco treatment counselor.

Virtual Group Classes: Free resources and support in a virtual setting.

Free nicotine replacement therapy (patch, lozenge or gum) is available to coaching and class participants, as grant funding allows.

Call 717-544-3278 to register or discuss other options to meet your quitting needs.

Additional Resources

Lung Cancer Screening

If you are concerned about your risk of lung cancer, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health offers a lung cancer screening program with a doctor’s referral. The screening is recommended for people ages 55-77 with a moderate to heavy smoking history, but no history of lung cancer.

Low-dose CT screening for lung cancer is covered by a growing number of insurance plans. Check with your plan to find out if it is covered. The screening service includes the CT scan, interpretation and written report by a board-certified radiologist, and follow-up reminder from the radiologist to the patient and referring physician, when needed.

Lancaster General Health has a team of expert specialists who are available to manage all of your lung cancer needs. Call 717-544-LUNG for more information.

For more information on lung cancer screening visit our Lung CT Screening page and discuss with your primary physician.

author name

David J. Cziperle, MD

David J. Cziperle, MD is a thoracic surgeon with the Ann B Barshinger Cancer Institute. Dr. Cziperle is a graduate of the Loyola University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a fellowship at Loyola University Medical Center. Board certified in thoracic surgery, Dr. Cziperle is passionate about providing customized care to meet the needs of patients dealing with a lung cancer diagnosis.

Call: 717-544-9400

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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