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Among all cancers, lung cancer is one that especially requires the fight of a lifetime because the majority of those with this disease do not have symptoms until it is in its later stages. It is one of the most common cancers in the world and is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

According to Roy Oommen, MD, MBA, a cardiothoracic surgeon with NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Groups and ColumbiaDoctors (the faculty practice of Columbia University Medical Center), and an attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital’s Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cortlandt Manor, because the lungs are large, tumors can grow for quite a while before symptoms appear.

“The majority of those with lung cancer do not have symptoms until it is in its later stages,” Dr. Oommen explains. “Symptoms may result from a cancer that started within the lungs themselves or from a cancer that has spread to the lungs from another area of the body. Symptoms include a chronic cough, hoarseness, coughing up blood, constant chest and/or back pain, shortness of breath or wheezing, and frequent lung infections.”

Several lifestyle and environmental risk factors are associated with lung cancer, with smoking being the primary risk factor. Other factors include exposure to asbestos or radon, exposure to metals such as nickel and chromium, pulmonary fibrosis, radiation therapy, and secondhand smoke exposure.


Ways to help lower your risk

1. Do not smoke: Tobacco damages cells in the lungs, causing the cells to grow abnormally.

Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center

Roy Oommen, MD, MBA

2. Avoid secondhand smoke: Regular exposure from someone else’s cigarettes, cigars, or pipes can increase your risk of lung cancer.

3. Test your home for radon: Radon is a radioactive gas that can be found in homes. It breaks down in rocks, soil, and groundwater and moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation.

4. Avoid toxic substances: Other substances at work or in the environment can increase your risk of developing lung cancer. Limit your exposure to radiation, arsenic, nickel, and chromium.

5. Exercise most days of the week: Regular exercise helps the pulmonary system work more efficiently and enables the lungs to take in more oxygen.


Early detection also is key to fighting lung cancer and NYP/Hudson Valley Hospital’s Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Comprehensive Cancer Center offers low-dose CT screenings. To find out if you are eligible for a lung cancer screening, call the Cancer Center at NYP/Hudson Valley Hospital at (914) 293-8400.

Dr. Oommen also practices in lower Westchester County with NYP/Lawrence Hospital and at NYP/Columbia in Manhattan. To learn more or make an appointment with Dr. Oommen at the office nearest you, please visit nyp.org.


NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital
1980 Crompond Rd                           
Cortlandt Manor                                
(914) 293-8400


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