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Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (cont.)

Is It Possible to Prevent Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer remains a highly preventable disease because 85% of lung cancers occur in people who smoke or used to smoke. The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke.

  • Cigarette smoking is highly addictive, and quitting often proves to be difficult. However, smoking rates have decreased recently in North America and in other parts of the world.
  • People who smoke who use a combination of supplemental nicotine, group therapy, and behavioral training show a significant drop in smoking rates.
  • People who smoke who use a sustained-release form of the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban) have a much higher quitting rate than average and a higher abstinence rate after one year.

Screening for Lung Cancer

  • The American Cancer Society does not currently recommend routine chest X-ray screening for lung cancer. This means that many health-insurance plans do not cover screening chest X-ray films.
  • Low-dose CT scans of the chest annually in those age 55 to 74 who have been smokers or continue to smoke -- especially more than one pack a day for more than 30 years, or the equivalent, and have no history of lung cancer -- now appear to increase the detection of early stage lung cancers in those screened. The testing is relatively expensive and debate continues on this subject.
  • People who smoke or used to smoke may want to have a periodic chest X-ray film anyway. They should discuss this with their health-care providers.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/8/2016

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