How Often Should Ex-Smokers Get Lung Cancer Screenings?

A low-dose CT scan of the chest is a good way to detect multiple diseases and disorders, including 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 55-year old ex-smoker who recently stopped smoking.

Our ex-smoker is 55 years old, and has had a history of smoking.  The patient has since stopped. The patient shows lung cancer symptoms now but is worried about an increased chance of developing lung cancer or some other respiratory condition in the future.

Where Public Health Organizations Agree

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

As of December 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force began recommending “annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery.” Further, the USPSTF “concludes with moderate certainty that annual screening for lung cancer with LDCT is of moderate net benefit in asymptomatic persons who are at high risk for lung cancer based on age, total cumulative exposure to tobacco smoke, and years since quitting smoking.”

The American Lung Association is on the same page: Our patient should get tested if they are a current or former smoker aged 55 to 74 years old, has had a history of smoking for at least 30 packs per year and has no history of lung cancer.

Now, if our patient gets tested and the results come back with no signs of lung cancer, are they off the hook for future testing?

No. The patient should still be tested annually.

The goal here is prevention, and the best way to do this is through screening, according to the American Cancer Society. Our patient is likely to develop lung cancer, so preventative screening is the best way to keep them healthy and perhaps save a life.

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

Lung Cancer Symptoms and Screenings

Lung cancer is one of the most aggressive and commonplace cancers in the world. More people die from lung cancer than any kind of cancer and over 218,000 new cases are reported every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cancer is fast-moving. Without catching it in the early stages, survival chances decrease rapidly. That is why it is of the utmost importance for most smokers over the age of 55 to be screened with a CT scan for lung cancer.

The commonly reported lung cancer symptoms are:

  • a cough that doesn’t seem to go away
  • coughing up blood or bloody phlegm
  • severe, constant chest pain
  • shortness of breath or breathing issues

These issues can be easily confused with a severe cold or sickness. That may be part of the reason why people do not get properly screened. So if you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your physician about getting a low-dose CT scan to check for cancerous nodules or masses in the lungs.

Another reason that lung cancer screenings are not occurring with enough frequency is that current smokers may be hesitant to admit their habit in a doctor’s office or hospital setting. Cigarette smoking is still the #1 cause of lung cancer in America. And smokers are aware of the health risks (they are written right on the package of cigarettes) but they are addicted to the nicotine.

While tobacco itself is a dangerous plant, it is the additives in cigarettes that contribute to the developing of lung cancer. Dangerous substances from cigarette smoking include all kinds of chemicals like nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, ammonia, formaldehyde, cyanide, and arsenic. These chemicals are kept at low amounts. So they don’t kill customers quickly, but smokers die more slowly from diseases such as emphysema and lung cancer, all the while making smokers lifelong customers.

At Doctors Imaging, we don’t want shame and fear of results to keep patients from getting lung cancer screenings. Because of our equipment, experience, and other qualifications, we have been able to offer our services and help detect lung cancer and get our patients the treatment necessary. Our computed tomography capabilities are some of the best because we use the Siemens 64 slice CT, one of the best pieces of equipment for this purpose.

Find out if you may qualify for a low-dose CT scan. Even if you’re not eligible for a free exam based on your age or other qualifications, we’ll make sure you pay no more than $99 out of pocket. You can even request your appointment online. The sooner you get your exam, the sooner you can take the next step toward a healthier life.

Lung Cancer Detection in Louisiana Made Easy

Lung cancer is a devastating condition to suffer. There are as many as 228,000 new cases of lung cancer to be diagnosed in 2019 and as almost 142,000 people will die from lung cancer-related complications. This translates to about 1 in 15 men and 1 in 17 women will be likely to develop lung cancer. You can see that lung cancer statistics in the United States are alarming, which is why Louisiana doctors are committed to finding innovative ways and techniques to both detect and treat lung cancer.

As a patient, the symptoms of lung and or bronchi cancer can be difficult to see at first. Symptoms of lung cancer could be can be innocuous things like a cough that won’t seem to go away, chest pain with deep breathing or coughing, shortness of breath, feeling tired and weak or hoarseness in the voice. As you can see from this symptom list, these symptoms could be a bad chest cold. That is why lung cancer diagnoses are made when cancer has become serious or terminal because people are not trained to recognize the signs.

Like most cancers, there can be one reason or several reasons why someone develops cancer. Cigarette or tobacco smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. The Center for Disease Control has named smoking as “the number one risk factor for lung cancer” linking the habit to 80-90% of lung cancer diagnoses. Even if you are not a smoker, working or living around secondhand smoke can lead to lung cancer. Cigarette smoke is loaded with carcinogens and other toxic chemicals like tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide that can develop into lung cancer without ever even smoking a cigarette. Other risk factors for lung cancer include radon exposure, a naturally occurring gas that can be trapped in homes and buildings, that rises from the ground. You can have your home or office tested for radon levels and the EPA has a set of guidelines for lowering the radon levels in your dwelling. Other risk factors for lung cancer include family history or genetic issues as well as exposure to toxic substances like asbestos and chromium.

Louisiana is one state in particular that has a high instance of lung cancer. 68 per 100,000 residents have lung cancer and 51 per 100,000 die every year from the condition in Louisiana alone. With statistics like this, it is lucky that lung cancer detection in Louisiana has been made easier and more advanced with the help of local facilities like Doctors Imaging.

If you think that you may have lung cancer or would like to set up an appointment to discuss preventative measures, please contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie at 504-883-8111 Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM.

The Importance of Low-Dose CTs as Lung Cancer Screenings

Survival rates are 5x higher when lung cancer is detected early.

Lung cancer is one of the most prominent cancers in the United States and throughout much of the world. Because of the prevalence of cigarette smoking and the subsequent secondhand smoke, more people than ever before are being diagnosed with lung tumors and cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2015 alone, as many as 153,718 people died from lung cancer.

Every year over 218,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer and have to begin treatment. What can be done to combat these overwhelming statistics?

To begin, education about the seriousness and detrimental effect that smoking has on the body must continue. Several anti-tobacco coalitions have been successful in their efforts of creating shock and disgust at the consequences of smoking like this commercial or this video. Children need to be shown these horrifying effects early in their education and the other harmful symptoms can results due to smoking: premature aging, fertility problems, tooth decay, mouth cancer, mood imbalances, and many other side effects. If children are given the truth, a truth they can see and touch, they will probably be less inclined to try smoking as teenagers or adults.

But it isn’t just children that need to learn the dangers of lung cancer. Parents, teachers and other role models need to set an example that smoking is a serious and harmful habit that only leads to sickness, disease, and ultimately death. In addition to practicing what they preach in their own life, adults can do their part to protect their children and friends by supporting legislation that seeks to eradicate workplace smoking in places like bars, music venues, and casinos. The employees that work in these areas are only trying to make a living for their family and yet they are exposed to massive amounts of secondhand smoke every day. So many stories already exist of service industry workers contracting lung cancer even though they themselves have never smoked a cigarette in their life. It should be stopped for their protection.

This life-changing diagnosis of lung cancer can be prevented or at the very least hindered. Come to Doctors Imaging to have a low-dose lung cancer screening test performed. By having a low-dose CT scan performed, you can get a clear picture of the condition of your lungs.

You may qualify for a low-dose CT lung cancer screening test if you meet the following conditions:

  • Adults without symptoms aged 55 to 80 years
  • You have a 30 pack-year smoking history
  • You currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Having this procedure performed will help to give you, your doctors and your family better understanding of your medical condition and what the next steps should be in getting you healthy. The best part about this procedure is that it is only $99 at Doctors Imaging in Metairie as opposed to the $150-$200 price tag at hospitals.

Why is this procedure so important? By having a screening test done early — before symptoms begin — doctors can determine if there are treatments available to save a life. By having this procedure performed, the risk of death due to lung cancer can drop by almost 20%. Prevention and early detection are the best methods for staying healthy and with your family for longer, so consider Doctors Imaging for your low-dose CT lung cancer screening test.

Request your low-dose CT lung cancer screening test today using our appointment form or by calling 504-883-8111.