Are You a Candidate for Lung Cancer Screening?

Are You a Candidate for Lung Cancer Screening?

There is now a special type of x-ray that can look at your lungs to see if there are any nodules that might be a sign of an early lung cancer starting to form, and it doesn’t require a bowel prep like a colonoscopy.

Did you know that each year more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined? And 70 is the average age at diagnosis.

Various research studies have looked at why people get diagnosed with lung cancer so late in their life, by which time the cancer is often too advanced to respond to treatment.

And can you guess why?

Many people fear being judged because they are or were a smoker.

Today, individuals who smoke owe it to themselves and their loved ones to get a lung screening. Did you know there is now a special type of x-ray that can look at your lungs and see if there are any nodules that might be a sign of an early lung cancer starting to form?

Here’s the best reason to get screened: according to the American Lung Association, if the disease is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving 5 years improves from 11 percent to 55 percent (based on early-stage lung cancer stats—stage 1 vs. stage 4)

Most insurance companies will pay for a lung cancer screening if you are diagnosed as being at high risk, which is defined as follows:

  • You are between the ages of 55 and 74;
  • You have a significant smoking habit (The formula is Number of Packs/Day x Number of Years Smoked. For example, 1 pack/day x 30 years = 30 pack/years; 2 packs per day x 15 years = 30 pack/years);
  • You currently are smoking or have quit less than 15 years ago.

Or you must:

  • Be older than 50 years of age;
  • Have a 20 pack/years habit (same formula as above);
  • Have one additional risk factor (e.g., a history of smoking–related cancer; family history of lung cancer; history of COPD or pulmonary fibrosis; radon or occupational exposure).

Please visit the American Lung Association website for more information about whether you are a candidate for lung cancer screening:

If you are a candidate for lung cancer screening, check with your primary care provider for the location of the lung cancer screening center closest to you.

(Lillie D. Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S., ONN-CG)