Are you in Need of Lung Cancer Screening? - PIH Health

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Published on June 27, 2017

Are you in Need of Lung Cancer Screening?

Lung Cancer

Lung CanceerThis Vital Health Tool Can Potentially Save Your Life

According to the National Cancer Institute, early screening and detection of cancer has helped reduce cancer-related deaths. Lung cancer screening involves being seen and evaluated by a physician before the onset of symptoms

Who should be screened for lung cancer?

According to the Lung Cancer Alliance, lung screening is recommended for high-risk patients who are between the ages of 55-80. High-risk patients are those who have a long history of smoking the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years (for example, people who have smoked a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years) and are current smokers or have recently quit. If you are a former or current smoker, your risk for developing lung cancer is up to 25 times higher than a non-smoker.

How does lung cancer screening work?

Lung screening is a CT scan of the chest that can identify any abnormality in the lungs, such as a nodule or lesion that could be cancerous,” explained Daniel D. Saket MD, a PIH Health Radiologist.

“By identifying a problem early, we can provide better treatment options. Often, we can detect a cancerous mass before the presence of symptoms.”

What are other lung cancer screening details?

  • Early detection means treatment can begin earlier. Screening can often identify a problem before there are symptoms.
  • Screening is not a one-time event. Testing should occur regularly, as prescribed by your doctor. Screenings typically occur yearly or every six months, depending on family history as well as your specific care plan.
  • If a cancer is identified, treatment may involve surgery, radiation or other actions. It’s important to talk with your physician to determine which route you should take.
  • Lung screening is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.
  • Screening does not replace quitting smoking. The best way to avoid lung cancer is to avoid tobacco.

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

Whether you are already being screened regularly for lung cancer, or you haven’t yet had an initial screen, it is important to know the symptoms and to seek treatment immediately if you believe you are at risk.

According to the American Cancer Society, the most common symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
  • Chest pain that worsens with deep breathing, laughing or coughing
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing up blood or dark phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness, weakness or wheezing
  • Infections that linger, such as pneumonia or bronchitis

If you believe you may be experiencing these symptoms or if you are interested in talking with an expert about lung cancer screening, contact your healthcare provider.

If you are interested in making an appointment to see a PIH Health physician in relation to the Lung Cancer Screening Program, please call 562.967.2892.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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