Dr. Salena Linberg is currently a second year Family Medicine resident at the Washington Health System. She was born and raised in New Jersey. She attended West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV to study psychology and went on to receive a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pacific University in Hillsboro, Oregon. She worked as a therapeutic consultant for developmentally delayed adults and as a nurse’s aid prior to attending the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and cats, yoga, and traveling.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is currently the 3rd most commonly diagnosed type of cancer and accounts for the highest rate of cancer related deaths. Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Screening for lung cancer should be performed in order to discover the disease as early as possible. People with a history of heavy smoking, who currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years, and are between the ages of 55 and 80 should be screened.

Screening is performed with a low dose CT scan, during which low doses of radiation take detailed pictures of the lungs. This test is typically covered annually for eligible patients at high-risk of developing lung cancer. Screening for lung cancer is not a substitute for quitting smoking. The best way to lower your risk of lung cancer is to stop smoking. Your PCP can provide resources to help you quit smoking, such as counseling, medications, and referral to local support groups.

Some patient may have symptoms that raise the suspicion for lung cancer, such as a cough that does not go away, chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up blood, feeling tired all the time, or unexplained weight loss. It is important to talk to your doctor about any of these symptoms.