Screening is testing for any disease even when there are no visible signs and symptoms. A screening test will be recommended by the doctors in order to detect a disease early when there is a chance that the treatment can work in a better way. The only recommended cancer screening test in the case of lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (also known as a low-dose CT scan or LDCT). Let us find out about lung cancer screening in detail.
Who Should go for lung cancer screening?
The lung cancer screening with LDCT is recommended to be conducted once a year for the people who—
- Smoke regularly and have a smoking history, and
- Are in the ages 50 to 80 years old.
What happens during a lung cancer screening test?
During an LDCT scan, the patient will need to lie on a table and an X-ray machine that uses a low dose of radiation will make detailed images of the lungs. The scanning procedure should only take some minutes and will be quite painless.
What are the reasons to go for lung cancer screening for people with high risk?
Lung cancer is not only one of the most common cancers and it is also one of the leading causes of death from cancer. If lung cancer can be detected at an early stage before it can spread, it may still be treated successfully.
Lung cancer screening is recommended for people who either smoke or used to smoke earlier, however, they don’t show any signs and symptoms. If anyone has lung cancer but does not display any symptoms, there is a chance to find the disease early if one goes for cancer screening.
It normally happens that the lung cancer symptoms don’t appear until it is already at an advanced stage. It often happens that even when people can see any lung cancer symptoms, they might mistake them for other issues, they might think it is an infection or any long-term effects of smoking. This may result in postponing the diagnosis. If a person has lung cancer symptoms, they should consult the doctor immediately.
Benefits as well as potential risks of lung cancer screening
The key benefit of cancer screening is a reduced chance of death from lung cancer. The disease is responsible for the deaths of people who smoke presently or used to smoke before.
However, it is to be noted that as with any kind of screening test, not all people who go for lung cancer screening will actually benefit. LDCT Screening may not be able to detect all kinds of lung cancers, not all kinds of cancers that are identified will be found early, and few people with lung cancer that was found through cancer screening may still die from lung cancer.
You may detect some things that are not actually cancer through LDCT scans. But they will require more screenings to understand what they are. A person may have to go through CT scans or other invasive tests which can lead to complications.
LDCT can also result in exposing people to a little amount of radiation with every test. Some people who go for cancer screening may need even more CT scans, which translates into more exposure to radiation.
What to consider before going for lung cancer screening?
If someone is at a higher risk for lung cancer, the doctor should explain the risk as well as how lung cancer screening is applicable to them. The doctor should explain what will happen during a cancer screening and the good places to get the health screening done.
It is important to ensure that the screening is only done at the facilities that will have the correct type of CT scanner. The center should have experience in LDCT scans for lung cancer screening and also have a team of health care specialists who can give the patients the right care and follow-up in case of any abnormal scan results. For people who smoke, it is important to go for counseling about stopping the habit. They should be made aware of the risk of lung cancer. By quitting smoking, people can actually reduce their risk of getting and eventually dying from lung cancer.
Lung cancer screening is suggested for people who are at high risk for acquiring the disease. It is important to consult the doctor if anyone wants to go in for a cancer screening. The danger of lung cancer can be lessened by quitting smoking. If lung cancer is detected at an earlier stage, it is much easier to be successfully managed and treated. Lung cancer screening is recommended especially for a few people who smoke or used to smoke in the past even if there are no signs or symptoms.