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What You Need to Know About Lung Cancer 

Q & A: Lung Cancer

Here's what you need to know about the No. 1 cancer killer.

There is no easy way to say it: Lung Cancer is the leading cancer killer among men and women in the United States.

"More people die from lung cancer than from prostate, breast, colon and pancreas cancers combined," says Jose F. Escobar, MD, a surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center at Irving. Dr. Escobar answers common questions about the disease and offer new hope for those at higher risk.

Q: Do I have to worry about lung cancer if I didn't smoke?

Dr. Escobar: Yes, unfortunately a significant precentage of individuals with lung cancer have never smoked. Women seem to fall into this category more than men. In fact, 20 percent of women who develop lung cancer have never smoked.

Q: Is lung cancer treatable?

Dr. Escobar: If you find lung cancer at an early stage, it's very treatable with surgery. We also have less invasive treatment options, including localized radiation or ablation, which uses very hot or very cold temperatures to kill or shrink the tumor.

The problem is symptoms - such as presistent cough or pain in the chest with deep breaths - don't show up until the cancer had grown significantly.

Q: Are there tests that can find lung cancer early?

Dr. Escobar: There is a low does CT lung cancer screening for high risk patients.

Q: Who is considered "high risk" and eligible for the CT scan screening?

Dr. Escobar: Generally, people older than 50 who have a "30-year pack history" can be screened. This basically means thay have smoked the equivalent of one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years. Other risk factors may come into play too, so talk to your doctor.

For more information on the services offered at Baylor Irving or for a physician referral, call 1.800.4BAYLOR or search online