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Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women, not counting skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Fortunately, more options exist today to help catch lung cancer early and treat it sooner.

The majority of lung cancer cases occur in those who have been exposed to substances like tobacco, radon, asbestos, or other chemicals. People with a family history of lung cancer may also be at higher risk of developing the disease.

During National Lung Cancer Month this November, find out more about how your risk is affected by asbestos and smoking, who should get screened, and the innovative treatment options offered by The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano.

Minimally Invasive Surgery for Lung Cancer

When lung cancer is detected, surgery to remove part of the lung, known as a lobectomy, may be recommended in addition to other treatments. Across the country, lobectomies are performed using traditional, open-chest procedures about 70 percent of the time. At The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, the vast majority of these procedures are done in a minimally invasive way.

Minimally invasive options, including video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and robotic-assisted surgery, typically offer a faster recovery and less complications than traditional surgery. The vision and precision provided by robotic assistance aids in a more thorough operation for those with lung cancer.​

Catching Lung Cancer Sooner: Who Should Get Screened​​

Because symptoms may not appear when lung cancer first develops, those with major risk factors for lung cancer should talk to their doctor about screening. A quick, low-dose CT scan is available for those who qualify as high risk.

Those who may benefit from screening include:

  • High-risk population of current and former smokers over the age of 55
  • People over 50 years old who have smoked the equivalent of one pack per day for 30 years or three packs a day for 10 years
  • People with occupational exposure to other cancer-causing agents, including asbestos and diesel fumes

The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano works with Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano to offer the screening for those at high risk, and screening results are reviewed by a thoracic surgeon on the medical staff.

Read more about lung disease screening, diagnosis and treatment​ at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano.

Reduce Your Risk: Smoking Cessation​

According to the American Lung Association, smoking contributes to lung cancer in 80-90 percent of cases. Even exposure to secondhand smoke can increase your risk of getting the disease. That's why kicking the habit is one of the most important steps you can take to reduce your risk.

Over time, smoking affects the health of numerous organs in your body. Not only does it increase the risk of lung cancer and other cancers, smoking harms the heart and blood vessels. The damage caused by smoking or from secondhand smoke is a major contributor to heart disease and peripheral artery disease.

Talk with your primary care physician about the numerous resources available to help you stop smoking and how to create a plan to quit for good. The health benefits of quitting start within hours, and your health continues to benefit as you add more days, weeks and years of living tobacco-free.

Read more about five major benefits associated with quitting smoking​.

The Link Between Asbestos and Lung Cancer

Asbestos is a mineral that was commonly used in the United States until the 1970s and is still used in some industries today. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 75 different job types have exposed workers to the substance.

When a person breathes in tiny asbestos fibers over time, the fibers can build up in the lungs. This repeated exposure can lead to asbestos-related lung disease, including lung cancer.

Those who have a history of asbestos exposure should talk with their doctor. While no treatment can completely reverse the effects of the mineral, your physician can monitor signs of disease and provide options to prevent complications.

Find out more about asbestos-related lung diseases and the outlook for those who have been exposed.

Thank you for following along during National Lung Cancer Month. Together we can raise awareness about lung cancer risk factors and share innovations in treatment.

Because of The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano's dedication to advanced techniques in thoracic surgery, it is one of the leading facilities in the nation for length-of-stay and outcomes in thoracic robotic procedures.* Based on volumes, the hospital is No. 1 in Texas for these types of procedures.

For those who may benefit from surgery for lung cancer, The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano offers streamlined evaluation and care. Read more about how the hospital is advancing care for lung cancer through robotic thoracic surgery​.

*Compared to data from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons and National Inpatient Sample