On August 1, the world will come together to create greater awareness for lung cancer, one of the most common cancers worldwide. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 228,150 new cases of lung cancer have been diagnosed so far in 2019 in the United States alone. 

Lung cancer is truly an epidemic, claiming more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined each year. Key statistics show:

  • A man has a 1 in 15 chance of developing lung cancer in his lifetime  
  •  For a woman, the risk is about 1 in 17

Common Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

Did you know that smoking tobacco is the most serious risk factor for developing lung cancer and it’s responsible for more than 80% of cases?

Whether it’s a cigarette, a pipe, or a cigar, smoking will increase your chances of developing lung cancer significantly. Even if you don’t personally smoke, but you’re around people who do, you’re at risk for lung cancer and other diseases caused by secondhand smoke.

Other common risk factors include exposure to cancer-causing substances such as:

  • Radon
  • Air pollution
  • Family history of lung cancer (relative with lung cancer under the age of 60)
  • History of radiation therapy to the chest

Prevent Lung Cancer with Routine Screening

Sometimes symptoms such as wheezing and trouble breathing can be noticeable signs of lung cancer. But other times, there may be no symptoms at all. 

That’s why it is important to undergo a routine lung cancer screening, which can help catch lung cancer in its earliest stages when it is most treatable.

Screening is simple and easy: it involves a low-dose CT scan that can catch lung cancer even before symptoms are present. It is the only effective, proven way to screen for lung cancer.

Where Can I Get Screened for Lung Cancer?

If you currently smoke or have smoked in the past, make it a point to screen yourself for lung cancer. We have several locations in Southern California that perform lung cancer screenings:


  • Providence Holy Cross Medical Center
    • 15031 Rinaldi Street
    • Mission Hills, CA 91345
    • Map


  • Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center
    • 501 S. Buena Vista Street
    • Burbank, CA 91505
    • Map


  • Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance
    • Outpatient Imaging Department
    • 4101 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503
    • Map


  • Del Amo Diagnostic Imaging Center 
    • 3531 Fashion Way, Torrance, CA 90503
    • Map


  • Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro
    • 1300 W. 7th Street
    • San Pedro, CA 90732
    • Map

What if I Need Lung Cancer Treatment?

If during a routine screening, lung cancer is detected, rest assured you will be in good hands. Our surgeons, Dr. Robert McKenna, and Dr. Osita Onugha, have performed minimally invasive chest operations on patients from around the world.

Not only do our surgeons perform advanced techniques for lung cancer, but they are also internationally recognized leaders in thoracic surgery: they have taught more than 100 advanced video-assisted thoracoscopic surgical (VATS), robotic assisted thoracic surgery (RATS), laparoscopic and bronchoscopic courses and workshops for visiting teams of surgeons.

On this World Lung Cancer Day, protect your health by getting screened or by seeking help from our thoracic care team at our center of Minimally Invasive Chest Surgery and Thoracic Surgical Oncology.

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About the Authors

Dr. Robert McKenna

Robert McKenna, M.D., is the Professor of Surgery, and Director of the Minimally Invasive Chest Surgery and Thoracic Surgical Oncology Center at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute. Dr. Robert McKenna is an internationally renowned thoracic surgeon, who has dedicated over 2 decades in General Thoracic surgery research and clinical care. Learn More About Dr. Robert McKenna.

Osita, M.D., MBA Onugha,

Osita Onugha, M.D., MBA, is the Assistant Professor of Minimally Invasive Chest Surgery and Thoracic Surgical Oncology at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute. Dr. Onugha is a board-certified surgeon and assistant professor of thoracic surgery at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute. Dr. Onugha practices all aspects of thoracic surgery, including procedures for benign and malignant conditions of the lung, esophagus and mediastinum. Learn More About Dr. Osita Onugha.