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Prisma Health encourages annual screening for those at increased risk for lung cancer, deadliest cancer in the US

Thursday, November 11, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C.— Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both South Carolina and in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. During Lung Cancer Awareness month this November, Prisma Health reminds those that are at an increased risk to schedule an annual screening to help detect signs of the disease early. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that approximately 85% of lung cancer occurs in current or former tobacco smokers. While smoking tobacco is the biggest factor in one’s chances of developing the disease, other risks include:

  • Secondhand smoke.
  • Exposure to radon.
  • Exposure to asbestos or other cancer-causing agents.
  • Family history of lung cancer.
  • Personal history of a smoking related cancer.
  • Certain chronic lung diseases.

“An annual screening for those that are higher risk is the best preventative measure to find the cancer early and increase your chances of survival. Without a screening, lung cancer is not usually found until a person develops symptoms, at which time the cancer is much harder to treat,” said Michael Haughton, MD, oncologist at Prisma Health Cancer Institute in Columbia. “If you are at least 55 years old and a smoker or quit smoking within the past 15 years, you should talk to your physician about enrolling in an annual lung cancer screening.”

Prisma Health also offers tobacco education and lung cancer prevention programs, as well as smoking cessation classes for those who want to quit. The programs are designed to teach smokers about the health effects of tobacco use and the risk associated with using tobacco products. According to the CDC, quitting smoking can add as much as 10 years to life expectancy.

“Smoking tobacco increases your risk of premature death before you’re even diagnosed with cancer or other pulmonary diseases,” said Luke Spangler, MD, family medicine at Prisma Health. “Quitting is the number one measure to improve your health and enhance your quality of life.”

To learn more about Prisma Health’s lung cancer screenings or smoking cessation programs, visit

About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 acute and specialty hospitals, 2,947 beds and more than 300 outpatient sites with nearly 2,000 physicians, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually in its 21-county market area that covers 50% of South Carolina. Prisma Health’s goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals. Visit for more information.

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