Harvard Women's Health Watch

Ask the doctor: Should I be screened for lung cancer?

Q. I smoked for 10 years during my wayward youth. I stopped 25 years ago, but now I worry about my risk for lung cancer. What can I do to prevent it? Should I be screened?

A. Fortunately, you have already done the most important thing possible to prevent lung cancer: you quit smoking. There isn't much more you can do to decrease your risk of lung cancer except avoid secondhand smoke and follow a healthy diet.

Because you quit more than 15 years ago, there is also no recommended screening test for lung cancer. Your risk of developing lung cancer is now so low (essentially equivalent to that of someone who never smoked) that screening you for it won't improve your life expectancy.

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