Screenings for lung cancer provide a way to detect this disease early so that you can get started on treatment. Early treatment for this disease can help improve your outcome and lower your risk of having lung cancer spread to other parts of your body or reach more advanced stages.
What to Expect from a Lung Cancer Screening?
Lung cancer screenings use computerized tomography at a low dose in order to scan your lungs. Your doctor will check these scans for any signs of lung cancer to make a diagnosis. You should remain still while the scan is being done. This usually takes a few minutes or less to do overall. Your doctor can provide you with information on any risks that might be associated with lung cancer screenings. Keep in mind that finding lung cancer early typically outweighs these risks.
When Should I Get a Lung Cancer Screening?
Doctors typically recommend these screenings for older individuals who are smokers, whether or not they have any symptoms of lung cancer. Groups of people who typically need to have a lung cancer screening done include:
- Adults over 55 who smoke, especially if they have been smoking for 30 years or more and those who smoke as much as two packs a day
- Adults who used to be heavy smokers and have quit smoking, since the risk of lung cancer is still high
- Adults who have a history of lung cancer and have been treated for this disease in the past, such as five or more years ago
- Adults who have other risk factors for this disease, such as those who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or a family history of lung cancer
- Adults who have worked in an environment that contains asbestos
- Adults who are experiencing possible signs of lung cancer, such as a frequent cough, chest pain or shortness of breath that isn’t caused by respiratory illnesses
Keep in mind that lung cancer screenings usually are not recommended for certain individuals, such as those who have poor lung or respiratory function. These people face a higher risk of experiencing complications from follow-up testing.
How Often Should I Have Lung Cancer Screenings?
Screenings are generally done annually for those who need them up to the age of 80. However, certain factors might cause your doctor to recommend stopping these screenings, such as the development of other serious health problems that increase your risk of complications from these scans.
If you think you might need a lung cancer screening, please contact MXBowen, Physician, PC for an appointment. Dr. Bowen can evaluate you and determine if you need this screening done.