NEW YORK, Nov 29, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The risk for lung cancer, the top U.S. cancer killer, can now be predicted for social smokers as well as habitual smokers.
Dr. Claudia Henschke, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, presented the findings at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. They showed that a social smoker age 50 or older has a risk for developing lung cancer similar to that of a smoker under age 50 who smoked three packs a day for 20 years.
With annual CT screening, which identifies a high percentage of Stage I lung cancer -- the most curable form of lung cancer, there is a 76 percent to 78 percent chance of a smoker's lung cancer being cured, Henschke said. However, delaying treatment by more than six months resulted in increased tumor disease and often a higher stage of the disease.
Regardless of a smoker's age or how much has been smoked, the risk for developing lung cancer does not decline appreciably until 20 years after quitting, according to Henschke.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.