Curbing the burden of lung cancer

Alexandra Urman, Howard D. Hosgood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Lung cancer contributes substantially to the global burden of disease and healthcare costs. New screening modalities using low-dose computerized tomography are promising tools for early detection leading to curative surgery. However, the screening and follow-up diagnostic procedures of these techniques may be costly. Focusing on prevention is an important factor to reduce the burden of screening, treatment, and lung cancer deaths. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified several lung carcinogens, which we believe can be considered actionable when developing prevention strategies. To curb the societal burden of lung cancer, healthcare resources need to be focused on early detection and screening and on mitigating exposure(s) of a person to known lung carcinogens, such as active tobacco smoking, household air pollution (HAP), and outdoor air pollution. Evidence has also suggested that these known lung carcinogens may be associated with genetic predispositions, supporting the hypothesis that lung cancers attributed to differing exposures may have developed from unique underlying genetic mechanisms attributed to the exposure of interest. For instance, smokingattributed lung cancer involves novel genetic markers of risk compared with HAP-attributed lung cancer. Therefore, genetic risk markers may be used in risk stratification to identify subpopulations that are at a higher risk for developing lung cancer attributed to a given exposure. Such targeted prevention strategies suggest that precision prevention strategies may be possible in the future; however, much work is needed to determine whether these strategies will be viable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-232
Number of pages5
JournalFrontiers of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • environmental
  • lung cancer
  • risk factors
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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