Many people who have smoked tobacco for an extended period of time often wonder if they should get screened for lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, if you fall under the category of a “high-risk patient,” it is recommended that you speak to your doctor about receiving lung cancer screening.
Patients who are at a high risk of developing lung cancer are defined as those who:
- Have a history of heavy smoking( having smoked the equivalent of pack a day for 30 years)
- Are between 55 and 80 years old (https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/basic_info/screening.htm)
- Currently smokes or have quit within the past 15 years
One of the greatest benefits of screening is it can allow doctors to detect cancer in its early stages, when it is easier to treat and the chance for a cure is greater. In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, “screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) resulted in a 20% reduction in lung-cancer mortality,” in high-risk patients (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1301851)
The most recommended and effective tool utilized for lung cancer screening is low-dose computed tomography or low-dose CT scan. It is currently recognized as the only tool that is effective in reducing the risk of lung cancer-related deaths in high-risk patient populations. While effective, there are complications that could result from repeated screenings such as receiving false positive results.
In addition to receiving screenings one of the best things you can do for your lungs’ health as a smoker is to quit smoking. It is never too late to quit.
If you believe you are a candidate for lung cancer screening, it is important to speak with your doctor about all the risks and benefits. To learn more about lung cancer, please visit www.medisyscares.org or https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer.html.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.