Lung cancer is one of the biggest cancer-related killers in the United States. While treatments are readily available to battle and even beat this form of the disease, most people are not diagnosed until tumors have reached later stages. Considering this, lung cancer is responsible for about 1 out of 4 cancer deaths in America each year.
People are at especially high risk for the development of lung cancer will find there is a tool that can be used as a first line of defense. The low dose CT, or computed tomography, scan enables doctors to enjoy an edge in finding this form of cancer early. The American Cancer Society recommends this scan for a variety of cancers because of its ability to detect cancer sooner in high-risk patients. Screening of people at high risk for lung cancer, for example, has been shown to have reduced the mortality rate by an impressive 20 percent. That adds up to about 70,000 lives saved per year courtesy of early detection and early intervention.
While insurance company requirements for low-dose CT scans may vary, the recommendation at present is for people age 55 to 74 who have smoked a pack a day for at least 30 years to undergo the routine exam. People who smoked heavily, but stopped within the past 15 years may also find themselves eligible for the test. It is important to remember, however, that not all high-risk patients are former smokers. Chemical exposure and other risk factors for the disease do exist and may necessitate screening, as well.
People who are concerned about lung cancer are urged to talk with their healthcare providers. Routine screening with low dose CT scans can enable early detection and lead to treatments that may include minimally invasive surgery should lung cancer be found. The scan itself only takes about five minutes and may end up saving a life.