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Lung cancer is the the number one cause of cancer death in the United States and the second most commonly diagnosed type of cancer. Lung cancer is a type of cancer that first starts in the lungs, but may also spread to other areas of the body, such as lymph nodes or the brain. There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell and non-small cell, the latter being the more common of the two. Depending on which one someone is diagnosed with, the treatment is different. 

While cigarette smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer — smoking is linked to 80-90% of all lung cancer deaths — other factors, such as radon, asbestos, family history of lung cancer, radiation therapy, and diet, can also increase a person’s chance of developing lung cancer. 

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual lung cancer screening for people who have a 20 pack-year (an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for twenty years), smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and are between the ages of 50 and 80. A low-dose computed tomography (or LDCT) is used to screen for lung cancer. Despite these recommendations, in 2015, only 4.5% of adults who were at risk for lung cancer received an LDCT. 

The Carolina Cancer Screening Initiative aims to increase awareness around the importance of regular lung cancer screenings as well as accessibility to screening methods in North Carolina, particularly in areas of the state that are medically vulnerable.

To find our how you can be screened for lung cancer, visit the CDC page on Lung Cancer or the American Cancer Society Website.