Smoking Poses a Risk Even After You Quit - PIH Health - Whittier, CA

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Healthy Living Online

Published on November 17, 2014


Smoking Poses a Risk Even After You Quit

SmokingDid you know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States?

By the time people start to experience the symptoms of lung cancer (chronic hacking, recurring bronchitis, shortness of breath, etc.) the cancer is already in later stages which means it’s much harder to treat. If you are a long-time smoker, you could already have the beginning stages of lung cancer and not yet know it.

While this is a scary thought, PIH Health offers a Lung Cancer Screening Program that can help diagnose lung cancer in patients with a long history of smoking. And, if diagnosed, PIH Health also offers a comprehensive program to treat the cancer.

Who should get screened?

There is a specific group of people who should get screened for lung cancer. This includes:

  • Those ages 55 to 80; and
  • Current smokers or smokers who quit within the last 15 years; and
  • People with a smoking history equivalent to one pack per day for 30 years 

“Even if you quit smoking several years ago, it’s important to be screened,” says Daniel Saket MD, a PIH Health radiologist. “Smoking has long-term effects on your lungs, and just because you gave up cigarettes, you are still at risk of having lung cancer. Getting screened can help catch cancer early when it can be treated most effectively.”

About the screening exam

The screening exam itself is very simple and painless and takes less than a minute to complete. No dyes, injections or medications are required. You will be passed through a CT Scan X-ray machine that uses low dosages of radiation.

After the exam, your CT images will be read by one of our radiologists. They will determine if anything appears abnormal and report the results to you and your physician.

Tips for quitting

Whether you do or don’t have lung cancer, it’s important to stop smoking now. The START method is endorsed by the American Cancer Society as an effective way to quit smoking. Steps in this method include:

S = Set a quit date

T = Tell family, friends and co-workers that you plan to quit

A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you'll face while quitting

R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car and work

T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit

If you meet the criteria for lung cancer screening, talk with your primary care physician or call the PIH Health Lung Cancer Screening Program at 562.967.2892. Even if you are a long-time smoker, it’s not too late to get screened.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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