There are some steps you can take to lower your risk of thoracic cancer and stay healthy: quitting smoking and reducing your exposure to certain environmental factors.

Lung cancer: Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. If you smoke, it is best to quit now. Other risk factors include exposure to secondhand smoke, radon and asbestos, and family history. If you are a current smoker or have a history of smoking, learn more about our Lung Cancer Screening Program.

Esophageal cancer: Smoking, alcohol use and gastric reflux have been associated with forms of esophageal cancer.

Mesothelioma: Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a lung screening CT?
A low dose CT (Computed Tomography) scan is used to take multiple images of the chest to look for an abnormality on the lungs which may be cancerous.

Q. What does “low dose” mean?
Lung screening CT scans use less radiation than a typical CT scan - about ¼ the radiation - which is about equivalent to the amount of radiation used in a mammogram.

Q. What are the risks?
It is important to note that while a screening CT scan may not detect the presence of cancer, it could reveal other abnormalities. While these findings are unexpected, they may require a follow-up visit with a primary care provider and/or a specialist for further evaluation.

A. While low dose CT scans tend to expose you to less radiation than that of a normal CT scan, you are still being exposed to radiation. It is about the equivalent to the amount of radiation used in a mammogram.

Q. What else should I know?
Smoking cessation continues to be the most effective way to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. The lung screening CT is not a substitution for stopping smoking.

A. Even if the CT scan doesn’t detect anything, it is still highly recommended that patients receive annual lung screenings.