How Often Should a Middle Aged Man Get His Chest Screened?

Screening the chest area is a good way to detect multiple diseases and disorders, such as chronic respiratory diseases and lung cancer.  Early detection of these diseases and disorders is essential to the successful fight against them.  The earlier they are detected, the better chance a patient has at survival.

This brings up a question, though.  If preventative screening is key to catching these diseases early, how often should one get tested?  Let’s take a look at today at one case in particular: a middle aged man.

Our man is around 40 years old, and has had a history of smoking.  He has since stopped, but is worried about his increased chance of developing lung cancer or some other respiratory condition.

In August of 2011, the results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) found that screening with low-dose spiral computed tomography scans compared to chest X-ray reduced lung cancer deaths among older heavy smokers by 20%, according to the American Lung Association.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has found, however, that “the evidence is insufficient to recommend for or against screening for lung cancer in asymptomatic persons with either low-dose computed tomography, chest X-ray, sputum cytology, or a combination of these tests.”

So, what is our man to do?

According to the American Lung Association, our patient should get tested if he is a current or former smoker aged 55 to 74 years old, has had a history of smoking for at least 30 packs per years, and has no history of lung cancer.

He fits two of those criteria.  Should he get tested?  The general advice is yes. But it should always be up to his doctor.

Now, if he gets tested and it comes back negative, he should never get tested again right?

No, he should still be tested annually.

The goal here is prevention, and the best way to do this is through screening.  Our patient is likely to develop lung cancer, so preventative screening is the best way to keep him healthy.

Long story short: a middle aged man with some history of cancer, or a history of smoking, should get tested annually for his safety.

If you’re looking for preventative screening services (such as a chest CT scan) in the Louisiana area, come to Doctors Imaging. We’re radiologists concerned about quality patient care. Scheduling is easy, results are available on-site, our rates are below hospitals, and we accept every major insurance.

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