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Most lung cancers are discovered late, in the most advanced stages when survival rates are low says Dr. Richard Shusterman, a pulmonologist at St. Mary Health. He says that by far the main cause of lung cancer is smoking. Dr. Shusterman urges everyone to stop smoking and to talk to their primary care provider about ways to quit.
If a cancer diagnoses is made, treatment will most likely involve more than one modality. He says patients may require surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy, depending upon the type of cancer. Unfortunately, symptoms of lung cancer are often not present until the disease is advanced. Symptoms of lung cancer include, cough, shortness of breath, pain and neurological symptoms.If you have a family history of lung cancer or have been a life long smoker, early screening may be warranted. Dr. Shusterman says annual low dose cat scans may be recommended for certain patients. The cat scan could detect the cancer earlier, at a more treatable stage. He says many insurance companies will cover the cost.