I was diagnosed with restrictive lung disease. My mother and my cat died of lung cancer. I’m a non-smoker but worried about environmental issues. How likely is it that this will become lung cancer, and what would the treatment be?

“It's not just smoking that leads to lung cancer,” says Russell K. Hales, M.D. “ We know that environmental exposures and underlying lung disease can increase the likelihood of lung cancer. Unfortunately, in patients with restrictive lung disease, we don't have any information to show that screening those patients will increase the likelihood of finding something.”

Hales, who is a radiation oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus, notes, “When people have other risk factors, like family members who have died from lung cancer, or those who have underlying lung problems, we still evaluate them in our pulmonary nodule clinic. On a clinical protocol, we can see if there's a benefit to being screened.” He recommends consulting with a pulmonologist at Hopkins to talk about next steps. Call 410-955-LUNG to set up a consultation.

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