Lung Cancer Screening
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. More people die of lung cancer than from breast, colorectal and prostate cancers combined. Screening increases the chance of finding lung cancer early when it is easier to treat and more likely to be cured. By adhering to annual lung cancer screening and recommended follow-up exams, there is a greater chance of not dying from lung cancer.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for individuals who:
• Are age 50-80 (50-77 if you have Medicare)
• Are a current smoker or have quit less than 15 years ago
• Have a smoking history of at least 20 pack-years*
• Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer
Lung cancer screening involves a CT scan of the chest that uses a small amount of radiation to look for abnormalities or nodules in the lungs. Low-dose CT scans are the only proven method to find lung cancer early before symptoms occur. By the time symptoms of lung cancer occur, the cancer has most likely spread to other areas of the body and is much harder to treat.
There are many causes linked to lung cancer. Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer and is responsible for 80% of lung cancer deaths. The remaining 20% have never smoked. The best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to stop smoking. Other risk factors include exposure to radon gas, secondhand smoke, asbestos, air pollution, and more.
If you think you may be eligible for lung cancer screening, schedule an appointment to talk with your primary care doctor.