Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related death for both men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. Although the disease is rare among people under the age of 45, more people die from lung cancer than from colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers — however, the risks are much greater for smokers.
Early detection is the key to reversing the trend of lung cancer-related death. The low dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung screening test was recently approved by Medicare. This special CT scan aids in detecting lung cancer at the earliest stages when it is most treatable.
Should I Be Screened for Lung Cancer?
If you have smoked for many years, you may want to think about screening (testing) for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). Before deciding, you should think about the possible benefits and harms of lung cancer screening. This decision aid will help prepare you to talk with your health care professional about whether lung cancer screening is right for you.
Screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Screening test can find diseases early, when they are easier to treat. Most people who develop lung cancer (more than 8 in 10) get it from smoking, If you currently smoke, the best way to lower your risk of lung cancer is to quit.
Ask your doctor about getting screened (tested) for lung cancer if all of these apply to you:
- You are age 55 to 80
- You have a history of heavy smoking. An example of heavy smoking is smoking 1 pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years – or 2 packs a day for 15 years.
- You smoke now – or you quit within the last 15 years
Your doctor may suggest that you get screened once a year with LDCT (low-dose computed tomography). LDCT takes pictures of your lungs, which can help find lung cancer early – when it may be easier to treat.
Thanks to the health care reform law, insurance plans must cover lung cancer screening for adults at high risk for lung cancer. This means you may be able to get screened at no cost to you. Talk to your primary care provider and insurance company to find out more.