Lung cancer is the most lethal cancer in the United States, with a five-year survival rate of 18.6 percent. The statistical survival rate is considerably less than other common cancers, such as colorectal (64.5 percent), breast (89.6 percent), and prostate (98.2 percent), a sordid reality considering the prevalence of lung cancer. According to the Lung Cancer Foundation of America, 142,670 lung cancer deaths are expected in 2019 (accounting for 27 percent of all cancer deaths in the country).
It is, however, extremely important to note that the five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 56 percent when the cancer is still localized to the lungs. Unfortunately, only 16 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage, not allowing enough time to contain and treat the cancer before it spreads.
Knowing this information, here are a few notes to consider regarding lung cancer, early detection, and prognosis.
Make Early Detection a Priority
Without question, the first priority to preventing, mitigating, or potentially curing lung cancer is to detect the cancer as early as possible. As the low early-detection statistic reveals, waiting until your body tells you something is wrong often means lung cancer has already advanced to a stage that dramatically drops the 5-year survival rate.
While we cover who should get a lung scan in this blog, it’s important to understand that both smokers and non-smokers should be vigilant about lung cancer. While smokers have a higher risk of contracting lung cancer, it isn’t exclusively a smoker’s disease.
Lung cancer is difficult to detect because its symptoms can easily be confused with those of many other diseases that affect the lungs. In general, lung cancer is not the first conclusion drawn for symptoms such as coughing or pain. Even if the coughing is quickly determined to be caused by lung cancer, waiting for the symptoms to reveal the disease almost certainly means the disease has advanced beyond the point in can be cured.
Thankfully, improved scanning practices and the promotion of early lung scans are helping more people stave off lung cancer before it gains momentum.
When Is the Right Time?
While recommendations vary, we suggest that patients as young as 45, regardless of smoking history, begin strongly considering a proactive lung scan. If smoking is or was habitual, especially heavy smoking, receiving the scan becomes all the more important and should be done sooner than later. If lung cancer is a concern and you’re unsure if you qualify for a lung scan or if one would be recommended, reach out for a consultation with us.
Of course, whether or not a scan is scheduled, we always recommend that current smokers attempt to stop smoking as soon as possible. It should be well-noted that a scan is no substitute for quitting, as smoking’s effects on health can not only feed lung cancer, but cause or worsen other chronic diseases (i.e. cardiovascular diseases).
If you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer and the cancer has been in remission, receiving a proactive scan to detect any sign of recurrence might be recommended. To know whether or not a post-diagnosis lung scan is recommended or when to receive one following a successful cure of lung cancer, contact us for a consultation to learn more.
Schedule Your Scan
If you meet the risk factors that suggest regular lung screening, setting up a scan to monitor your lung health is an easy process. Advanced Body Scan of Tulsa offers lung scans for those who wish to take it. To schedule or ask about a scan, visit our website or call us at 918.879.6161.