ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – October is Healthy Lung Awareness Month. Dr. Mansoor Haq is an oncologist and hematologist at SSM Health St. Clare Hospital in Fenton. He says smoking is the top risk factor for lung cancer.

Dr. Haq says symptoms don’t always appear until later stages and may include cough, fatigue, chest discomfort, trouble breaking and coughing up blood. If you experience any of these, it is critical you contact your doctor to schedule a screening.  Take a lung cancer screen test here.

Dr. Haq explains, “People who have smoked for more than 20 pack years, what that means is they’ve smoked a pack per day for the past 20 years, and they’re between 50 and 80 years of age. They’re currently smoking, or if they have quit smoking in the past 15 years, they should be screened by what we call low-dose CT scans of the lung. They should be done once a year.”

Other risk factors include exposure to asbestos, radon, or exposure to secondhand smoke.  Family history may also play a part. Dr. Mansoor says, “As far as treatment is concerned, we treat the non-small cell lung cancer in the early stages where the surgery, we try to cut it out. The advanced stages are treated with chemotherapy and radiation, or just by chemotherapy itself.”

To learn more about lung cancer risk and treatment options, click here.