House Call: Lung Cancer Pt. 1

Updated: Sep. 8, 2023 at 6:01 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. Sahil Virdi, a pulmonologist, talks about lung cancer screenings.

1). Is there more than one type of lung cancer?

There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell and non‐small cell. Although both occur in the lung, these grow very differently and are treated differently. Non‐small cell lung cancer is the more common of the two and has many subtypes including adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The small cell is the more aggressive form of lung cancer.

2). Where does lung cancer rank among other cancers?

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death. The West Virginia Cancer Registry reports that lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among West Virginia residents (excluding some forms of skin cancer) accounting for 18% of cancers diagnosed in the State each year. There are geographic differences in lung cancer incidence rates in West Virginia. Rates are much higher in the southwestern region of the State. Half of all people with lung cancer diagnoses have distant metastasis, meaning the cancer has spread. Due to this, more people die of lung cancer than colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer combined.

3). When we talk about lung cancer risk factors, most of us know a common contributor; there are other factors putting us at risk concerning this disease.

Cigarette smoking is linked to 80% to 90% of lung cancers, making it the number one risk factor for the disease. Certainly, there are other factors including secondhand smoke, radon, and pollutants (including asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust, and some forms of silica and chromium), personal family history of lung cancer, previous radiation therapy to the chest, and possibly diet.