If you search for the most common cancer for both men and women in the United States, lung cancer would be in the top two. Then, if you look up the leading cancer-related deaths in the USA in 2019, lung cancer would have to top the list—having 23 percent of all cancer-related deaths is more than the percentage of colon and rectum, female breast, and prostate cancer deaths combined.
Lung cancer can be as deadly as it may seem, but once you detect it early, your chances of survival could be significant. In illnesses like this, early diagnosis can help make treatment more effective. The main problem would have to be that people with this type of cancer often have unnoticeable symptoms in the early stages, so they don’t get treatment until the cancer advances significantly.
Your best option is to go through a lung cancer screening every year, especially if you think you are at risk. Lung cancer screening is a significant preventive measure where experts use unique X-ray technology to scan your lungs before developing any symptoms.
If you want to learn more about lung cancer screening and what it can do for you, keep reading.
Are You at a Higher Risk of Having Lung Cancer?
Physicians recommend lung cancer screenings for those who are at higher risk of getting the disease. Your primary care doctor will consider you at higher risk for lung cancer if you are 55 to 80 years old, have been smoking for the last 15 years, and have a history of smoking of 30 pack-years or more. You can compute your pack years by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes you smoke by the years you have been smoking.
Aside from smoking, other factors may put you at risk of having the disease. You can also consult your family doctor if you are a non-smoker and think that you are at risk of developing cancer and ask if it would help if you will undergo lung cancer screening.
Annual lung cancer screening is significant for people at higher risk, beginning at age 55 to 80, but doctors sometimes recommend stopping the screening by the mid-70s.
What Do Healthcare Professionals Do in a Lung Screening?
Before, the most effective tool for lung cancer screening was the chest X-ray, but the resulting images were not specific enough. A new procedure has been introduced, and it increases the likelihood of detection and, therefore, the patient’s survival. The device is a low-dose CT scan which is also known as LDCT.
An LDCT scan is a type of X-ray that uses a minimal dose of radiation, and it does not use intravenous (IV) contrast dye. It takes many detailed pictures of the patient’s lungs, which allows physicians to evaluate the state of the lungs and correctly diagnose the disease.
Lung cancer screening is crucial for people who might be at high risk of developing the disease. It monitors the health of your lungs and detects any suspected cancers. If your doctor notices an anomaly during early screening, it will significantly help the treatment be more effective. Talk with your primary care doctor if you would like to know if the procedure is necessary for you.
For people in need of primary care in New Jersey, we recommend an appointment with Garden State Medical Group. We have an expert team of board-certified health experts that are masters of the various areas of functional medicine—including diagnostic procedures for illnesses like lung cancer. Contact us today to learn more.