Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. It has the lowest five-year survival rate at only 18 percent overall, especially when compared to breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.
However, when diagnosed early, lung cancer is more likely to be curable, with survival rates jumping to nearly 60 percent versus 6% when diagnosed at a late stage. Additionally, smoking is estimated to account for about 90 percent of all lung cancer cases, with the relative risk of lung cancer being 20 times higher in smokers than nonsmokers.
As a result, lung cancer screenings for current and former smokers are critical to the early detection of lung cancer, leading to better outcomes and saved lives. Recently, the recommended criteria for lung cancer screenings were updated. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent volunteer panel of experts in disease prevention, now recommends lung cancer screenings1 for men and women who meet all of the following requirements:
- 50 to 80 years old
- Current cigarette smoker or a person who quit smoking cigarettes within the last 15 years
- Have a smoking history of at least 20 pack-years
- (A pack-year is calculated by multiplying the average number of packs smoked per day by the number of years. For example, 2 packs per day for 20 years = 40 pack-years)
- Have no current signs or symptoms of lung cancer
Lung cancer screening at DuPage Medical Group is a comprehensive program. Patients who qualify will first see a provider who will explain all aspects of screening and assess the patient’s willingness to undergo additional testing if an abnormality is found. If the patient would like to continue, an order for a low-dose CT scan (LDCT) will be provided. This exam is very simple and typically takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Patients then need an annual scan until they pass the age of 80 or until it has been more than 15 years since they quit smoking.
If you have questions regarding lung cancer screenings or would like to schedule an appointment with your provider, please schedule an appointment today.
1https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/lung-cancer-screening#bootstrap-panel – 4