Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention
In the United States, lung cancer ranks first as the type of cancer that has the most fatalities in both men and women. During the last 25 years, it has claimed more and more lives as the years went by. Lung cancer deaths even surpass the combined total number of mortality from prostate, colorectal and breast cancers. The risk of acquiring lung cancer is increased by a number of factors, including cigarette smoking.
Lung Cancer Screening Tests
Screening is a procedure wherein a person is required to undergo a test or series of evaluation to confirm if a disease is present or not in the body. Most of the times, the physician would suggest doing a screening in order to pre-determine a condition earlier and to treat it at the soonest time possible.
A. Low-Dose Computed Tomography (CT scan)
In the case of a possible lung cancer, the single screening test done to confirm the diagnosis is through a low-dose computed tomography or also termed as low-dose CT scan (LDCT). The test utilizes the combination of an x-ray machine and a minimal intake of radiation in order to make detailed visualization of the lung fields.
LCDT is mostly recommended to be done annually by individuals who have a history of heavy smoking. Heavy smoking refers to persons who have a smoking record of 30 pack years and up. A pack year is defined as smoking a pack of cigarette in a single day for an entire year. Additionally, LCDT is also recommended for individuals who are currently smoking or have quitted within the past 15 years. Lastly, patients between the ages of 55 and 80 years are decidedly advised to undergo this screening test.
B. Chest X-ray
Annual chest x-ray is advised by a number of healthcare professionals for persons who smoke but studies have shown it does little to confirm lung cancer. CT scan has the greater chance of reducing cancer death risk than chest x-ray.
C. PET Scan
Positron Emission Tomography, also called as PET scanning, is a diagnostic test that utilizes radiation in small amounts in order to show a detailed visualization of the organ’s function. It is used in combination with CT scanning which is termed as PET/CT.
Lung Cancer Prevention
A huge percentage of lung cancer results from cigarette smoking. Almost 90 percent of lung cancer cases come from the frequent use of cigarettes. Studies have shown that the progression of cancer has been associated with the harmful chemical substances found in the cigarette such as the asbestos. Other environmental factors like radon and secondhand smoke exposure can also increase the likelihood of developing a lung cancer.
Avoiding smoking is the single most effective way of preventing lung cancer. There are some beliefs among the long-time smokers that cessation of the habit won’t do any better at avoiding the disease. However, results of research pointed out that those who quit smoking have lesser chances of getting lung cancer than those who continue with the habit. About 80 to 90 percent of reduction rate is observed among individuals who decided to stop smoking longer than 15 years than those who still continue smoking.