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Arkansas doctor encouraging lung cancer screenings



Little Rock, Arkansas — The number one cause of cancer death in Arkansas is lung cancer. The state loses more people to lung cancer than colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer combined. Thanks to lung cancer screenings, lung cancer can be caught in the early stages.

According to Dr. Matthew Steliga, a thoracic surgeon at UAMS, toward the start of the year many people start re-evaluating their health, including trying to stop smoking. There are resources to help you quit. At UAMS, they have a built-in smoking cessation program that goes along with screenings. Dr. Steliga says while lung cancer can happen to anyone, unfortunately, a large majority of their lung cancer patients have a history of smoking.

“I’d say roughly 80 to 85 percent of our patients have a heavy smoking history,” he said.

According to Dr. Steliga, not everyone is a candidate for getting yearly lung cancer screenings.

“The highest risk group of people that benefits from screening are people 50 to 80 years old, who have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years or more or two packs a day for 10 years,” he said.

Dr. Steliga also says even if you’ve smoked half a pack a day for 40 years or long-term, you should be doing yearly screenings as well.

The Arkansas Department of Health also has an excellent resource to help you quit smoking, including free phone counseling support.