5 things you should know about lung cancer screening
Early detection is crucial when it comes to catching cancer at an easier-to-treat stage, and understanding the criteria for screening for lung cancer can be helpful.
Who should be screened?
Lung cancer screening is recommended only for adults who are at high risk for developing the disease because of their smoking history and age, and who do not have a health problem that substantially limits their life expectancy or their ability or willingness to have lung surgery, if needed. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends yearly lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for people who have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history and smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years and are between 50 and 80 years old.
What’s a pack-year?
A pack-year is the number of packs of cigarettes a person’s smoked per day multiplied by the number of years they have smoked. This is a clinical quantification of cigarette smoking used to measure a person’s exposure to tobacco. For example, a person with 20 pack-years could have smoked 1 pack a day for 20 years, or 2 packs a day for 10 years, or half a pack a day for 40 years, and so on.
Where should I get my lung screening?
If you believe you are at risk for developing lung cancer, talk to your doctor about whether or not screening is right for you. If your doctor recommends screening, they will order a low-dose CT (LDCT) scan. This scan provides quality images using 90% less ionizing radiation than a standard CT scan. When it comes to an issue as important as this, quality is essential.
What should I know before I go?
Let your physician know if you have a respiratory tract infection. If you have any signs or symptoms of a respiratory tract infection or if you recently recovered from an infection, your doctor may recommend delaying your screening until after your signs and symptoms resolve. Respiratory infections can cause irregularities on CT scans that might require additional scans or tests to study. These additional tests can be prevented by waiting for any infection to be resolved. You may be asked to remove any metal you’re wearing prior to your scan as metals can interfere with the imaging, such as jewelry, glasses, hearing aids and dentures.
Why does technology matter?
A low-dose CT (LDCT) scan has been studied in people who are at higher risk of getting lung cancer (mainly because they smoke or used to smoke). LDCT scans can help find abnormal areas in the lungs that may be cancer. Research has shown that unlike chest x-rays, yearly LDCT scans to screen people who are at a higher risk of lung cancer can save lives. For these people, getting yearly LDCT scans before symptoms start helps lower the risk of dying from lung cancer.
Your local GenesisCare center
Please contact us to schedule a lung screening
2526 S Pinnacle Hills Parkway
Rogers, AR 72758
Tel: (479) 271-8900
- National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query (PDQ). Patient Version. Lung Cancer Screening. 2019. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/lung-screening-pdq on August 27, 2021.
- Aberle DR, Adams AM, Berg CD, et al; National Lung Screening Trial Research Team. Reduced lung-cancer mortality with low-dose computed tomographic screening. N Engl J Med. 2011;365(5):395-409.
- US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Lung Cancer: Screening. Accessed at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/lung-cancer-screening on August 27, 2021.