HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Medical advances are helping more people survive lung cancer, but the number of cases has not decreased in the United States. As a result, local physicians have made it their mission to educate individuals who are most at risk.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer — it accounts for roughly 25 percent of deaths. Smokers, specifically those who smoked a pack a day over the course of 20 years, are the most at risk and are urged to undergo a screening for lung cancer every year after the age of 50.

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“There are also other causes like asbestos exposure, radon exposures,” UPMC Pulmonologist Dr. Navdeep Brar explained. “Some genetic factors also put people at high risk for lung cancer.”

A person’s life expectancy significantly increases f lung cancer is caught in the early stages of its formation, according to the NCI.

“That’s where the screening is really recommended to catch it early, so it’s diagnosed when it’s a very small area of the lungs affected, like stage one or two,” Brar said.

Most health insurance plans, including Medicaid.

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Brar emphasized that new treatment is available to help patients battle the disease.

“It could be chemotherapy or radiation and there’s also stereotactic radiation, which is more advanced than regular radiation and has less side effects,” Brar said.