While many factors can contribute to lung cancer risk, about 80 to 90% of lung cancer deaths are related to cigarette smoking.
There is definitive evidence that screening long-time smokers with low-dose spiral CT (LDCT) significantly reduces lung cancer deaths, but—despite being a non-invasive and quick procedure—current screening rates are low. In 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) lowered the eligible screening age and smoking criteria, effectively expanding screening access to millions more smokers and former smokers.
If you’re a heavy smoker or a former heavy smoker, get screened for lung cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for current or former smokers who are ages 50–80, who have 20 pack year histories* of smoking and who either still smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.
There is definitive evidence that screening long-time smokers with low-dose spiral CT significantly reduces lung cancer deaths.
*A ‘pack year history’ is an estimate of how much a person has smoked over time. The number of packs of cigarettes smoked every day is multiplied by the number of years a person has smoked that amount. Example: a person who smoked 1 pack a day for 20 years has a history of 1 x 20 = 20 pack years. Learn more about how pack years factor into your health.
You are at risk for lung cancer if you:
While many factors can contribute to lung cancer risk, about 80-90% of lung cancer deaths are related to cigarette smoking.
For help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
In the early stages, there may be no symptoms. As lung cancer progresses, these symptoms may occur:
Talk with your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms, even if you have none of the risk factors listed.
Lung cancer treatment depends on the type of cancer (small cell or non-small cell), the size of the tumor and whether or not it has spread.
• In early stages of lung cancer, when the disease has not spread outside the lungs, surgery is the usual treatment. Sometimes chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy is used in combination with surgery.
• For later stages of the disease, radiation and chemotherapy are sometimes used in combination with surgery. Patients with certain mutations may be eligible for immunotherapy.
• New, less-invasive surgery may help patients recover more quickly with the same results as older, more invasive surgery.