Consider Lung Cancer Screening if You’ve Been Exposed to These Chemicals

This 15-minute cancer screening could save lives of Michigan residents, doctor says

Author: Jasmine Brown

Lung Cancer Screening

“Our low dose CT scan may catch lung cancer in the early stages, which can give patients a better chance at managing the disease.”


Though commonly diagnosed in patients with a history of smoking, anyone can receive a lung cancer diagnosis. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., but it is one of the most preventable cancers.

“Lung cancer can develop from breathing in toxic chemicals,” said Mohammed Berrou, MD, a board-certified pulmonologist at McLaren Flint. “When smoking, you’re breathing in chemicals from the tobacco and other products added to the tobacco leaves, which can cause damage to your lungs. However, secondhand smoke, radon, and asbestos can also cause lung cancer.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chemicals, like tobacco, can weaken your immune system. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably in the body. If chemicals you have inhaled have already damaged cells in an area of your lung where cells are growing uncontrollably, your immune system may not be able to stop that growth.

The American Cancer Society estimates that around 235,760 cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed among men and women in the U.S. in 2021. Just over half of that number is how many are estimated to die from lung cancer: 131,880.

There are ways you can lower your risk of developing lung cancer. The first and most important is to quit smoking or never begin smoking. You should also limit your exposure to harmful chemicals, including radon gas, which can be found in your home. (Learn more about radon testing and how you can get a test kit on the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy website.)

Putting Out Cigarette

If you know that you have been exposed to harmful chemicals, or have a smoking history, speak to your physician about getting screened for lung cancer. Even if you quit smoking, you can still be at risk of developing this disease.

“It is important to receive a low-dose lung cancer screening every year,” said Dr. Berrou. “Research has shown that this CT scan can be life saving for patients. If you’re coming in every year for a screening, the more likely we would be able to detect abnormalities in the lungs sooner than later, when the disease becomes more developed. Lung cancer deaths are decreasing due to the advances in early detection and treatments.”

Recommended guidelines for lung cancer screenings highlight those who are:

  • 55 – 77 years old.
  • A current or former smoker with at least a 30 pack-year smoking history (one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years, etc) and
  • A current smoker or those who have quit within the last 15 years.
  • Asymptomatic (having a cough that does not go away, hoarseness, shortness of breath, etc.)

“Speak to your primary care physician. If your physician feels like a screening is right for you, they can refer you to our imaging center,” advised Dr. Berrou. “Our low dose CT scan may catch lung cancer in the early stages, which can give patients a better chance at managing the disease.”

Lung cancer screenings can be done in as little as 15 minutes. In Genesee County, patients can schedule their lung cancer screening at the McLaren Flint Imaging Center or the imaging center at McLaren Fenton. Physician orders are required to make an appointment. If you need a primary care physician, you can schedule an appointment with a new physician by going to

For more information about lung cancer screenings, visit or call 1 (844) LUNG SCREEN (1-844-586-4727).