BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Dr. Ravi Patel from CBCC joined 17 News at Sunrise for a monthly segment delving into cancer’s effect on our community, this month drawing attention to lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the third most commonly occurring type of cancer in the United States, and Kern County sees increased risks, largely due to air quality levels. But on top of this increased risk, Kern County also has very low screening rates for lung cancer, meaning many of the cases are not being caught as early as is possible.

“An ounce of prevention is better than a cure,” Dr. Patel said during the interview. He explained that screening is the most important tool in mitigating the risks of lung cancer.

Dr. Patel went over the factors, both genetic and lifestyle, that can put you at higher risk for the disease, and when it is recommended to get screened based on those individual risk levels. Even non-smokers should be aware of their risk, according to Dr. Patel, and symptoms such as shortness of breath may be an indicator of a deeper issue, which may include lung cancer.