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Some people may delay a lung cancer screening or other routine screenings out of fear of diagnosis. But the truth is, getting screened early can significantly improve your chances of survival if something abnormal is found. This is especially true in the case of lung cancer, as early detection can save your life.
Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer.
Nearly 1 in 15 men and 1 in 17 women will develop lung cancer in their lifetime, and those figures include both smokers and non-smokers. While 85 to 90 percent of all lung cancer cases are attributed to smoking, environmental factors can also increase your risk of developing lung cancer. Exposure to high radon levels in old homes or asbestos levels in certain work environments, for example, can pose a threat to your lung health.
Unlike other types of cancer, lung cancer is not genetic. That means that even if a family member has lung cancer, you’re not genetically prone to developing the disease. However, if a family member smokes near you regularly, your risk of developing lung cancer increases because you are exposed to secondhand smoke.
Because lung cancer diagnoses are so common, knowing your risk of lung cancer is critical for taking steps to defend yourself, like getting screened. Not everyone is eligible for a low-dose computed tomography scan (LDCT) covered by insurance, but a five-minute quiz can determine if you are.
A five-minute quiz can determine if you are eligible for a life-saving #LungCancer screening. On the #MedStarHealthBlog, a lung nurse navigator shares why it’s important you find out sooner rather than later: https://bit.ly/3o8na7L.
Even if you don’t have lung cancer symptoms, you could be at risk.
A lung cancer screening is an imaging test used to search for and identify any signs of cancer in your lungs before symptoms appear. If you delay testing until you experience signs of lung cancer, such as persistent coughing, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood, you risk allowing cancer to progress to a later stage. Often, if symptoms are present, the cancer is already spreading and much harder to cure.
If you catch early signs of lung cancer before symptoms appear, you have more treatment options and chances for a cure. People who are diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer experience a 27 to 61 percent five-year survival rate, depending on the type of lung cancer. In contrast, once lung cancer has spread to both lungs or surrounding organs in later stages, the five-year survival rate is only 3 to 6 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.
That’s why it’s important to find out if you’re eligible for a screening that can detect lung cancer early when it’s more easily treated. A non-invasive screening can decrease your risk of dying by up to 20 percent.
It only takes five minutes to find out if you’re eligible for a life-saving screening.
A health risk assessment is a brief questionnaire that can help you learn about the things that increase your chances of developing a disease. Some of these “risk factors” can be modified, like your habits, while other risk factors cannot, such as your family medical history.
During a lung health risk assessment, you answer questions about factors that increase your risk of developing lung cancer in your lifetime. By collecting information about your personal health, your lifestyle, and your family history of the disease, our experts can assess your lung health and determine if you qualify for a lung cancer screening.
After the questionnaire, you’ll receive a detailed summary of your lung health in your email, which you can use to talk to your doctor about next steps. If you have a high risk of developing lung cancer, you’ll receive advice on what you can do to lower your risk. If the questionnaire reveals that you are not at high risk, you will still benefit from recommendations for living a longer, healthier life.
Find out if you're eligible for a screening.
Screenings are painless and critical for early detection.
Medical advances in x-ray technology make it easier to find cancer in its earliest stages when it’s most curable. Today, doctors use an LDCT scan to get a detailed look at your lungs and nearby organs. The x-rays create a 2D image of your lungs, allowing your doctor to find and track tiny spots called nodules, which can grow into cancer.
During an LDCT scan, you’ll lay down on a table that passes through a CT machine, similar to a large metal donut. The entire screening takes between 15 to 30 minutes, and it’s completely painless. If something abnormal is found, your doctors can follow it over time to ensure it doesn’t develop into cancer. If your doctor notices a change in size over time, they may recommend further evaluation to ensure it’s not cancerous.
If you meet eligibility for lung cancer screening, don’t delay. A low-dose CT scan may save your life by detecting early signs of cancer. When found early, lung cancer treatment is easier and more effective, giving you the best chance for survival and more time with those you love.