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Early screening key for lung cancer

Health care providers continuously promote early screening for lung cancer, especially for those at high risk for developing the disease.

Fatima Javier Wong, D.O., a pulmonary and critical care physician at Riverside Health System, said that those age 50-80 years old or those who have 20-30 “pack years” (those who have smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for 20-30 years) should get screened for lung cancer.

Each year, 228,000 Americans are diagnosed and 160,000 die from lung cancer; November is observed as Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

According to Wong, a patient will have a low-dose CT scan (i.e., an x-ray) of the chest during screening. The computer will take several pictures of the area at different angles and a pulmonologist will interpret the results.

Wong said common symptoms for lung cancer include chest pain, weight loss, persistent cough that does not go away, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, feeling tired, wheezing and falling ill with pneumonia over and...

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