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I am a former or current smoker. What’s my risk for lung cancer?

If you smoke or smoked before, you have probably questioned how much of a fate you are tempted with lung cancer.

The common saying is that lung cancer almost always catches up in smokers. Yet, at the same time, some lifelong smokers never ever catch lung cancer.

So, how true is the common saying? Would every smoker surely develop lung cancer? You may be wondering.

Without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of it.


Most lung cancers are caused by…

In truth and sooth, smoking is the biggest cause of lung cancer. If you are smoking or once smoked 20 cigarettes per day, chances are your risk of getting lung cancer has increased about twentyfold.

For smokers who don’t get lung cancer throughout their lifetime, it could be that they are genetically less predisposed to DNA damage in comparison to others.

Hence, unless a former or current smoker has such genetic resistance, they are still at the mercy of a whopping 4,000 lung cancer-causing substances found in puffs of tobacco smoke. Apparently, statistics showed that many were not genetically resistant, as according to the World Health Organization (WHO), lung cancer topped the list as the most common cause of cancer death.

Being exposed to second-hand smoke (smoke inhaled from other people’s cigarette, etc.) makes one become more susceptible to lung cancer by as much as 30 percent. Considering this, think about how much more vulnerable one is to lung cancer when in the presence of first-hand smoke (smoke drawn straight from the cigarette, etc.), which is or was usually the case for current or former smokers.

One of the most effective ways to detect lung cancer is to go for a low-dose computerised tomography (LDCT) scan with an accuracy rate of 90 to 95 percent. A regular LDCT scan can help you detect lung cancer early, which is when treatments can work more successfully.


Well, then, what about e-cigarettes?

Another question a smoker has pondered and contemplated even? The reality is that e-cigarettes or vaping are just as dangerous as traditional cigarettes. Similar to the latter, e-cigarettes also contain a profound number of chemicals that are hazardous enough to cause cancer.

Again, if you think you need a lung check-up, the LDCT is the most advanced and recommended lung screening option.

I don’t have any symptoms of lung cancer to begin with, why the need for LDCT scan?

Common symptoms of lung cancer such as pain in the chest, non-stop coughing, fatigue, and more usually do not appear until the later stages of lung cancer. Hence, no relevant symptoms do not necessarily mean one is free from the risk of lung cancer. The fact remains that the habit of smoking – past or present – is a major contributor to lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer not only has the lowest survival rate compared to breast, colon, and prostate cancer in Malaysia, but it is also the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Early detection of lung cancer via regular LDCT screenings that leads to early treatment remains the best hope of defeating the disease.

Therefore, get screened from time to time if you tick the boxes below:

  • A smoker of an average 1 pack of cigarette a day for more than 2 decades
  • Smoking currently or have not smoked for the past 15 years
  • Aged between 40 to 75 years old

All it takes is only a few minutes to save your life…

A LDCT scan is a simple process that takes a few painless minutes. You will lie on an examination table that moves through a circular opening of an x-ray machine. From there, low radiation x-rays are emitted and would pass through your body. As the x-rays leave the body, they are translated into detailed images of your lungs for further examination.

Just like many other cancers, lung cancer could be a silent, insidious killer and, the later it is detected, the harder it is to treat it. Though a LDCT scan is a short and simple procedure, it could help you detect lung cancer before it becomes too late for treatment. In a nutshell, it’s lifesaving, only if you initiated it.

Protect your lungs, protect your life. Get the test, early detection is best. Contact 03-71187878 or 012-3286913 (WhatsApp) to book an appointment for your LDCT scan today.

Information By:

beacon-hospital-dr-goh-kee-sanDr Goh Kee San

Consultant Internal Medicine & Respiratory Physician

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