Lung Cancer—Should you receive a lung screening?

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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. Early detection and early treatment of lung cancer can greatly increase the chances of survival. Annual lung screenings are recommended for people 55 and older who are current or former smokers with at least a 30 pack per year history. This allows a physician to look for abnormal tissue or signs of lung cancer before a patient develops symptoms.

Risk factors for lung cancer

  • Smoking (In the U.S., 80% to 90% of lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking)
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Radon in homes or buildings
  • Radiation therapy to chest

Who should receive annual lung screening?

Lung screenings are recommended people who:

  • Are ages 55 and older
  • Have smoked a pack or more of cigarettes a day for 30 years or more
  • Currently smoke or quit less than 15 years ago
  • Have smoked a pack a day or more of cigarettes for 20 years or longer and have one additional risk factor for lung cancer

In order to get a lung screening, a patient needs a referral from their physician. If you fit the criteria for a lung screening, it’s important to speak to your doctor about the possible benefits and limitations.