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Risk factors of lung cancer

Most frequently caused by smoking, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It occurs as small cell or non-small cell lung cancer, with the latter being most common. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that surrounds most internal organs. It most frequently occurs on the tissue around the lungs, referred to as the pleura. 

As a collaborative health care partner, St. Luke’s Health combines compassion with advanced care to support patients with lung cancer or mesothelioma throughout their journeys to better health. We offer a comfortable, convenient setting for treatment, and our clinical and academic partnerships provide our lung cancer patients with access to some of the most advanced oncology research and treatments available.

The Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center

With leaders in the field of mesothelioma care and treatment, unparalleled resources and collaborations, and rapid access to care, the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center provides leading-edge therapies that are not available anywhere else in the world. 

Lung cancer risk factors and symptoms

The leading risk factor for developing this condition is a history of smoking. In fact, experts estimate roughly 80% of deaths from this condition are a result of smoking, including cigar smoking and secondhand smoke. Some additional risk factors include:

  • Exposure to radon
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Exposure to other carcinogenic workplace chemicals or minerals
  • Family history of lung cancer

By the time most people with this condition experience symptoms, the disease is at a more advanced stage. However, some people do develop symptoms in the early stages. These can include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Persistent and/or recurring bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Wheezing


Lung cancer screening and diagnosis

For a while, there was no accurate screening test for lung cancer. Now, physicians use low-dose CT scans to help detect this cancer early by showing greater detail than traditional chest X-rays. Learn more about lung cancer screening options in the Greater Houston area

Lung cancer treatment and surgery

Your course of treatment depends on many factors, including your age and general health. Some of the treatments we provide include:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Surgery
    • Video-assisted thoracic surgery
    • Pneumonectomy
    • Lobectomy
    • Segmentectomy
    • Wedge resection

Our multidisciplinary team at St. Luke’s Health works with patients to recommend what treatment options are best for each individual case and each individual person. Talk to your oncologist for more information.

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