Get screened for lung cancer even if you've never smoked

Smoke from any burning nicotine product contains harmful toxins that remain in the air that everyone breathes in—even after a smoker is no longer nearby


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 16 Nov 2022, 3:06 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Nov 2022, 6:30 PM

Medical experts at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi have encouraged members of the public to get screened for lung cancer, even if they have never smoked iin their lives

While smokers are at the highest risk of lung cancer, people with a family history of lung cancer, who are over 50, or who are exposed to second-hand smoke, are also at risk.

Dr. Usman Ahmad, department Chair of Thoracic Surgery in the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi said: “Lung cancer is one of the most common, complex, and aggressive forms of cancer, and the second most lethal type of cancer in the UAE. But thanks to early detection, better understanding of the disease, new treatments, and less invasive surgeries, the outlook for a person diagnosed with lung cancer is better than ever. We encourage people with a predisposition for this disease, particularly high-risk individuals with a smoking history and aged 50 years and above, to be screened at their earliest convenience.”

According to the World Health Organisation, lung cancer was the second most common cancer worldwide in 2020, with 2.21 million cases and 1.8 million deaths. Despite advances in therapy, it also remains the most fatal cancer in the world.

November is designated as Lung Cancer Awareness Month.


Secondhand smoke from other people's cigarettes, pipes, shisha, or cigars also puts people at risk. Smoke from any burning nicotine product contains harmful toxins that remain in the air that everyone breathes in—even after a smoker is no longer nearby. People who are exposed to cigarette smoke, or its components, frequently have long-lasting pathological changes in their lungs, which can cause a malignant tumour to grow.

Dr. Ali Saeed Wahla, Staff Physician in the Respiratory Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi said, “The message is simple: early detection saves lives. Unfortunately, lung cancer is often caught too late. Patients diagnosed in the earlier stages have access to a greater range of therapeutic alternatives. At Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, we always recommend regular screening. We recommend once a year for high-risk groups, and even for people as young as 20 years old who experience reoccurring symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath or ongoing chest pain. Simple lifestyle changes that people can make—quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly—can also lower risk and help prevent the disease from developing.”

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s multi-disciplinary lung cancer program provides customized and coordinated care. Cutting-edge technologies such as CT imaging and molecular and genetic testing help identify lung cancer early and enhance patient outcomes. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi also provides a wide range of diagnostic tests, such as endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and transthoracic CT-guided biopsy for early intervention, and minimally invasive treatment techniques such as video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS).

The hospital was designated as the official pilot lung cancer screening center for the emirate by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi in 2021.

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