Your Healthy Family: Early lung cancer screenings save lives, along with many quit resources

Posted at 2:07 PM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2019-07-09 11:27:39-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – November 15th was the Great American Smokeout, and we’re encouraging smokers to quit or make a plan to quit smoking.

In our last story, Dr. Crystal Erickson, a thoracic surgeon with UCHealth Memorial in Colorado Springs, talked about the health risks of smoking, as well as vaping and smoking marijuana.

If you have decided to do something about your smoking habit, Dr. Erickson says it’s important to know that the health benefits of quitting are almost immediate.  “We know that after your last cigarette, 20 minutes later your blood pressure and heart rate are already lower. In 12 hours, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood is back to normal.  A year after you, quit your risk of heart disease is half that of a current smoker.”

Dr. Erickson says that in Colorado, there are many ways to go about quitting and lots of resources out there to help.  “The easiest one to access is the Colorado QuitLine, the number is 1- 800-Quit-Now, (1-800-784-8669). It’s a free service that provides access to telephone-based counselors.  Recently in Colorado the eligibility criteria has changed so that anyone 12 years or older can use this free service.”

Dr. Erickson also says that if you feel you need more support than what the QuitLine offers, certainly talk with your doctor.  “What we know is most effective is when you combine one-on-one counseling along with medication.”

And similar to a mammogram to detect breast cancer in women, Dr. Erickson encourages smokers to talk with their doctor about a lung cancer screening to detect early signs of cancer.  “We are now catching early stage lung cancers, where traditionally the five-year survival rate for lung cancer was abysmally low and now because we’re catching it early when they are small and early-stage, the survival rate is 95 percent.”

To learn more about UCHealth Memorial’s lung screening program, click HERE


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