More than one-million people worldwide die of lung cancer each year, including more than 150-thousand in the United States. Dr. Stephen Hazelrigg, professor of pulmonary medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield and a member of the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU, says aside from smoking, some risk factors include exposure to asbestos or radon, environmental factors and secondhand smoke.
He says there is no widely-used screening tool for lung cancer, so most cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, usually by a chest X-ray. He explains some of the symptoms.
Dr. Hazelrigg encourages people to stop smoking to lower their risk of lung cancer. If you or someone you know has a persistent cough and chest pain, a personal physician can provide a thorough exam or make a referral to a pulmonary specialist for further testing.