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When Does It Make Sense to Receive a Lung Scan?

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Lung cancer remains the leading cause of death among all cancers, a total greater than the next three cancers combined. Did you know that the American Cancer Society estimates 236,740 new lung cancer cases and 130,180 deaths in 2022? How many of these deaths can a regular lung scan prevent? When does it make sense to receive a lung scan?

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot and diagnose lung cancers in the early stages. More so, it’s common to confuse the symptoms for other illnesses, the more reason why a lung scan is a better option. In this post, we will outline when it makes sense to scan for lung cancer, and whether or not this choice is right for you. 

What is a Lung CT Scan?

Before we talk about when it is best to receive a lung scan, let’s establish what they are in the first place.

A CT scan is a procedure — that takes only seconds — in which medical professionals use low dose X-rays to examine the lung for cancer. The CDC advises that the only recommended screening test for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (also called a low-dose CT scan, or LDCT). 

What Can a CT Scan of the Lungs Detect? 

A lung scan at Craft Body Scan may detect potentially cancerous masses before they become life-threatening. A low-dose CT scan is an excellent means of early detection in lung cancer, emphysema, aneurysm of the aorta, and other lung ailments. When a doctor can detect early cancerous conditions and small tumors, it potentially increases the long-term survival rate and may decrease more invasive treatment methods. 

Who is Most at Risk for Lung Cancer? 

While healthy people can be diagnosed with lung cancer, some people are more likely to get lung cancer—the high-risk patients. Lung cancer has several factors; risk factors increase a person’s chance of getting a disease. So, who is at risk for lung cancer? 

Smokers

Smokers and secondhand smoke are leading causes of lung cancer. According to the CDC, the leading risk factor for lung cancer is cigarette smoking. 80% – 90% of all lung cancer deaths are linked to cigarette smoking in America. Cigarette smokers are 15-30 times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers. The risk of getting lung cancer increases the more a person smokes, and even occasional smoking puts you at risk of lung cancer. You lower your risk of getting lung cancer if you quit smoking, but it is still higher than people who never smoke.

Secondhand smoke causes more than 7,000 deaths from lung cancer every year. Even if you don’t smoke, inhaling secondhand smoke from those who do increases your chances of developing lung cancer. 

Those With a Family History of Lung Cancer

You’re susceptible to lung cancer if your parents, brothers or sisters, or children have had lung cancer. Genetics plays a significant role in the development of lung cancer. If you have survived lung cancer, you’re also at risk of developing it again. 

The Elderly

When does it make sense to receive a lung scan? Well, most people diagnosed with lung cancer are aged 65 or older, with the average age being 70. Only a small percentage of people diagnosed are 45 years old or younger. 

Those Who Have Been Exposed to Carcinogens

If you’ve been exposed to carcinogens such as radon or asbestos, you have a higher risk of developing lung cancer. People who work in places where asbestos is common, such as shipyards, mines, mills, and textile plants, are many times more likely to die of lung cancer. 

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and is the leading cause among people who don’t smoke. 

Preventative Screening

Early detection is essential for the best chance of successfully fighting lung cancer. This means that both smokers and non-smokers should be aware of screening options and take lung cancer prevention screening seriously. While experts link many lung cancer cases to smoking, doctors may still diagnose non-smokers with lung cancer. These results can sometimes occur from exposure to secondhand smoke, after all.

As previously mentioned, a lung scan would be highly beneficial for people who have smoked and especially for those who smoke or smoke regularly. For those who’ve smoked a pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, or three packs a day for ten years, we recommend you strongly consider a lung scan.

Even if you’re not a heavy smoker, it’s still best to be proactive and receive a preventive scan.

For people in good health (including non-smokers) and unlikely to run into complications during a scan, we highly suggest that they take advantage of early detection for one of the most common cancers. We recommend that people at or over the age of 45 receive a normal chest CT scan to give themselves the best chance possible at early detection even with no smoking history.

Of course, for those with a history of lung cancer, a doctor may recommend a normal lung CT scan to confirm the absence of recurrences or relapses. 

How Often Should You Get a Lung CT Scan? 

When we’re addressing the question, when does it make sense to receive a lung scan? It’s important to think about both age and frequency.

According to the American Cancer Society, people aged 55 to 74 years should get yearly lung cancer screening with LDCT scans. Lung cancer doesn’t usually cause symptoms; this makes it undetectable until it has spread and becomes difficult to treat. Regular screening can help catch it in time and increase your chance of effective treatment.

Sign Up for a Lung Scan With CBS

If you meet the risk factors that suggest regular lung screening, setting up a scan to monitor your lung health is an easy process. Craft Body Scan offers lung screening for those who wish to take it. To schedule or ask about a scan, visit our website or call us at one of our locations:

Advanced Body Scan of Tulsa: (918) 879-6161

Advanced Body Scan of Raleigh: (919) 794-8888

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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