Important Facts about Lung Cancer Screening that You Need To Know
The American Lung Association estimated that 2.1 million people were diagnosed with lung cancer, and 1.8 million died from this disease in 2018. Anyone can get lung, though smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are the major culprits, and are responsible for about 90% of lung cancer cases. The most common type of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for 85% of all lung tumors, while small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is responsible for 15%.
With that harsh truth and the fact that it doesn’t cause symptoms until it’s widely spread, you need to get screened. A CT lung cancer screening in Boise, ID may help you find the cancer earlier and treat it before its too late. In this article, you’ll learn the important things you need to know about screening.
Table of Contents
Who Should Get Lung Cancer Screening?
If you are a high-risk person, you need to consider screening. High-risk persons include:
- Adults who are smokers or former smokers and are 55 years and above
- People who’ve smoked for 30 pack-years or longer. You can calculate your pack years by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes per day with the number of years you’ve smoked.
- Long-time heavy smokers who have quit smoking
- Adults with good health conditions. If you have some severe health problems, lung cancer screening may affect you.
- People who were treated for lung cancer five years ago or more
- People with lung cancer risk factors such as chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease (COPD).
How to prepare for lung cancer screening
Before taking a CT lung cancer screening, you may want to:
- Inform your doctor of any respiratory tract infection. That is relevant for you if you are recovering from a respiratory tract infection or have its signs and symptoms. Your doctor may recommend that you delay screening for a month until the symptoms have gone away. Respiratory infections may cause you to undergo other tests and scans that you can avoid by waiting for the infection to heal.
- Remove any metal that you’re wearing because they may interfere with imaging. Wear clothes without snaps or metal buttons. You may also be asked to remove your glasses, dentures, and hearing aids.
The Risks of Lung Cancer Screening
Lung cancer screening has risks which include:
Exposure to low-level radiation
The amount of radiation you may be exposed to during screening may be equal to about half the amount of radiation you’re exposed to from the environment in a year.
If your scan results show a spot in one of your lungs, you may undergo additional scans, exposing you to more radiation. You may also have to have risky and invasive biopsy tests.
Lung cancer may sometimes be obscured or missed on the screening test. If that happens, scan results may indicate you don’t have cancer when you actually do.
How Often Should You be Screened?
Because there are risks associated with low-dose CT screening, more scans may do more harm than good for people who are less likely to have lung cancer. As a result, the American Cancer Society recommends that people with a high risk of lung cancer contact their doctors to help them make informed decisions. But if you decide to get screened without your doctor’s advice, once per year would be ideal.
Lung cancer can affect anyone, though it mostly affects smokers. Before undergoing screening, you need to know why you should be screened, how to prepare for the screening, the risks of screening, and how often you should be screened. This way, you’ll make informed decisions about your health.