In the United States, about 228,150 new cases of lung cancer are estimated to be diagnosed by the end of 2019. Of those cases, roughly 142,670 deaths are estimated to occur from lung cancer. Lung cancer remains the leading cause of death among all cancers, a total greater than the next three cancers combined.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot and diagnose lung cancers in the early stages because the symptoms are easily confused for other illnesses. This blog outlines when it makes sense to scan for lung cancer.
When Should You Get Screened?
Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for lung cancer. Those who have a history of heavy smoking (30 pack-years or more, which corresponds to smoking one pack a day for 30 years) and smoke currently or only quit smoking within the last 15 years should receive an annual scan if they’re over the age of 45. In this case, it’s recommended that patients receive annual preventative scans.
However, even those without a smoking history would be wise to seek out an early scan, especially over the age of 45.
The recommended screening test for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography, which uses a small amount of radiation, is painless, and lasts only a few minutes.
Why Proactive Screening Matters, Even for Non-Smokers
For the best chance of successfully fighting lung cancer, early detection is absolutely essential. This means that both smokers and non-smokers should be aware of screening options and take lung cancer screening seriously. While many cases of lung cancer are linked to smoking, non-smokers can still be diagnosed with lung cancer (sometimes occurring from exposure to second-hand smoke).
As previously mentioned, people who have smoked, and especially for those who smoke or smoked regularly, a lung scan would be highly beneficial. For those who’ve smoked a pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years, or 3 packs a day for 10 years, a lung scan should be strongly considered. Those who are not considered heavy smokers would still be advised to take a proactive approach and receive a scan.
For people who are in good health (including non-smokers) and unlikely to run into complications during a scan, it’s still recommended that they take advantage of early detection for one of the most common cancers. We recommend that people at or over the age of 45, even those who have no smoking history, receive a lung scan to give themselves the best chance possible at early detection.
Of course, for those with a history of lung cancer, a lung scan could be recommended to confirm the absence of recurrences or relapses.
Sign Up for a Lung Screen
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.