Dr. Graham is Renown Health's Lung Cancer Expert

Lung Cancer

GO2 Foundation Screening Center of Excellence

The William N. Pennington Cancer Institute has been named a Screening Center of Excellence by GO2 Foundation Screening Center of Excellence for our ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening.


Most lung cancer cases stem from a history of smoking tobacco, but there are other known causes. You can take steps to eliminate some of the causes from your lifestyle and environment, such as:
  • Tobacco smoke: The most critical step you can take to prevent lung cancer is to avoid tobacco smoke altogether, including secondhand smoke.
  • Radon: This chemical element occurs naturally in the environment. It’s odorless and colorless, which means testing is the only way to determine if it’s present in your home. Radon testing kits and radon mitigation systems are available at retailers. Radon test kits are available through the Nevada Radon Education Program
  • Asbestos: This fibrous mineral causes cancer and other diseases, including mesothelioma and asbestosis. If you suspect your home contains asbestos, contact a local asbestos testing and removal service.
  • Diesel exhaust: Avoid exposure to diesel fumes. The World Health Organization found that diesel exhaust causes not only lung cancer but also other cancers.
  • Chemical exposure: Always take the necessary steps to protect yourself from inhaling harmful particles, fumes, and gasses by wearing appropriately rated masks or respirators.

Risk Factors

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and around 80 percent of those deaths are attributed to smoking. While causes of lung cancer can be varied, people at the highest risk of developing lung cancer are those with a history of smoking tobacco.
You should be screened for lung cancer if you meet all of the following risk factors:
  • You are between 50 and 80 years old.
  • Do not have any signs or symptoms (diagnostic testing is recommended for those with signs or symptoms).
  • You've never had lung cancer.
  • You currently smoke or quit less than 15 years ago.
  • Are, or were, a heavy smoker (20 pack years minimum; i.e one pack per day for 20 years, or two packs per day for 10 years, or ½ pack per day for 40 years, etc).

If you meet all of the risk factors, ask your doctor for a referral to Renown's Lung Cancer Screening Program. You will have a consultation with a provider from our Lung Cancer Screening Program to review the risks, benefits and answer your questions about screening. Studies have proven that screening with CT scans every year, before symptoms may appear, catches lung cancer in its early stages and saves lives.



Low-Dose CT Scan

Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) has proven to find lung cancer at its earliest stages. This scan uses roughly a quarter of the radiation as a normal CT scan. During the screening, you will lie on your back with your hands above your head. Then, the technician will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds while they take a series of pictures. The whole process takes about 30 minutes, and you do not need to do anything special to prepare for the screening.


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