Lung Cancer Screening:
Like most cancer, lung cancer can sneak up on someone even if they don’t have a medical history that would likely lead to cancer. Someone who has never smoked a cigarette can get lung cancer just like someone who smokes a pack a day. It may be unlikely but it is still possible. However, most people who have lung cancer are between the ages of 55 and 74 years old. Plus, they have a smoking history in which they smoked frequently for 15 to 30 years. Nonetheless, anyone can still get lung cancer. A lung cancer screening is the best way to catch cancer before it is too late.
Lung cancer screening should be undertaken at least once a year, especially if a person feels like they are in danger of getting lung cancer. Most often times the doctor will recommend a lung cancer screening test if they think their patient is at risk of getting lung cancer. A recommended screening test for lung cancer is a low-dose computed tomography. Also known as a low-dose CT scan, this test can locate cancer and help doctors put a stop to it.
Finding Lung Cancer Early
In the United States, more people have died from lung cancer than any other form of cancer. Because lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer for both men and women, it makes it a very distressing disease. The best way to stop lung cancer is to catch it before it starts doing severe damage. People with an early stage of lung cancer can be treated successfully. It is understood that if the lung cancer is found while it is still small and hasn’t spread, then it can be stopped and cured. Finding cancer while it is still weak is the best and most successful way of curing a patient’s lung cancer.
For the most part, symptoms of lung cancer don’t emerge until the later stages of cancer. When symptoms start appearing, the lung cancer is considered to be at an advanced stage that is incurable. That is why it is so important to get a lung cancer screening before it is too late.
Sometimes, a patient will have lung cancer and not even know it. Oddly enough, this lung cancer can actually be found by accident. If someone undergoes a test for a heart disease or other lung conditions, lung cancer can be spotted without even being searched for. Most people who have their lung cancer spotted early have fought the disease and lived through it.
How Screening Works
First, a doctor needs to recommend their patient for a lung cancer screening. From then on, the patient should get a screening once a year every year. The process of the screening is essentially performed with an X-ray machine. A person’s body is scanned with radiation in low doses. This will make thorough pictures of the patient’s lungs. These pictures will allow doctors and other professionals to examine the lungs in a detailed manner. Then, doctors will either begin treatment or not diagnose the patient with lung cancer. However, they will always further discuss with the patient how to prevent lung cancer.
It is recommended for anyone with a heavy smoking history to undergo lung cancer screening. Additionally, people between the ages of 55 to 74 and have quit smoking recently within the past 15 years should do the same. A common question is the definition of a heavy smoking history. Well, a heavy smoking history is considered to be one pack a day of smoking for 30 years or two packs a day of smoking for 15 years.
It is important to understand that these lung cancer screen tests have some risks. One instance that is undesirable is a false-positive result. A false-positive result is when the lung cancer screen test finds lung cancer that is not present. It leads to a false diagnosis and the patient can end up going through unnecessary surgeries and tests. Unfortunately, this can increase the risk of lung cancer. Another risk is getting over diagnosed. This is when the lung cancer screening test shows results of cancer that have never harmed the patient. Again, this can lead to unnecessary surgery that increases the risk of actually getting harmful lung cancer. Anyone who has no risk of getting lung cancer but repeatedly gets tested can experience radiation-related health issues. Sometimes, this radiation can be the cause of the development of lung cancer in healthy people.
Guidelines for when lung cancer screening should occur
The risks of lung cancer screening tests are relatively dangerous for healthy people, so there are guidelines to categorize people. Anyone who is 81 years old needs to cease getting tested. Additionally, if someone has exceeded 15 years without smoking then they too need to stop getting tested for lung cancer. People with no risk of lung cancer should not go through a lung cancer screening.
Doctors will be able to explain if you are in a position of high risk for lung cancer. As well, doctors will be able to explain the details of a lung cancer screening better for your specific case. Follow-up tests are common and should not be feared. They are important if the lung cancer screening test shows signs of cancer. Also, follow-up tests help scientists with their research. Every day people are working their hardest and doing their best to find new ways to cure cancer.
The important thing to keep in mind is that lung cancer screening is performed to lower the chances of dying from lung cancer. Chances of survival are increased if lung cancer is caught before any symptoms appear. Lung cancer can be beaten with the proper diagnosis at the right time. It is definitely treatable and curable if caught early enough. However, lung cancer is still the most dangerous cancer as it leads the death toll out of all the types of cancer. Fortunately, if you stay on top of it and do your best to prevent lung cancer then you can beat it before it can harm you.
Be sure to make regular check-ups with your doctor and ask if you are at a high risk of developing lung cancer. A lung cancer screening can save lives.