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Lung Cancer: a Disease Seldom Caught Early

Posted on November 17, 2020 in Blog

CT scanner at Fort Sanders RegionalLow-Dose CT Screening Helps Detect Cancer Earlier

Approximately 175,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States every year. The rate of lung cancer is dropping among men but rising for women because of increasing rates of smoking among women.  

Smoking and secondhand smoke cause more than 85 percent of lung cancers, which form primarily in the cells lining the air passages, or bronchia, in the upper lungs. Lung cancer is seldom caught early. The disease was once virtually incurable, but new treatments and technologies have improved the prognosis.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer – What to Know

Lung cancer can be silent and deadly because symptoms are not always evident in early stages. They become more noticeable as cancer grows.

It is always a good idea to seek medical attention if you have a persistent cough, shortness of breath or chest pain and wheezing. Signs of advanced lung cancer may include coughing up blood, hoarseness and frequent lung infections. Your doctor may recommend a low-dose CT scan.

Who is Eligible for Low-Dose CT?

Low-dose CT scans are recommended for individuals who:

  • Are between the ages of 55-75 and have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 years
  • Currently smoke or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
  • Are asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
  • Meet the criteria above and have a written order for LDCT lung cancer screening

How Does Low-Dose CT work?

Fort Sanders Regional offers low-dose CT scans as a diagnostic screening for lung cancer. Low-dose CT scans use lower amounts of radiation than standard chest CT imaging and create detailed images of the chest and lungs to help detect cancer.

The goal of a low-dose CT lung screening is to save lives. Low-dose CT screening is an effective way to detect lung cancer early. Yearly lung screening with low-dose CT has been shown to save lives by finding lung cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Studies have shown that early detection through a low-dose CT lung screening can lower the risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent in people who are at high risk.

For information on low-dose CT screening at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center or Thompson Cancer Survival Center, please call (865) 374-4000. For more information on imaging services at Fort Sanders Regional, visit FSRegional.com/Imaging-Services.