Health screenings are used in many aspects of the medical profession to prevent the progression of diseases, to assess symptoms and to try to prevent the development of illness. One of the more common areas where screening is used is in lung health.
An estimated 154,050 Americans were expected to die from lung cancer in 2018, which accounts for around 25 percent of all cancer deaths, according to the American Lung Association.
Common Lung Disorders & Their Symptoms
Smoking is a leading cause of chronic respiratory diseases, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These diseases are major conditions of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD and lung cancer could become uncommon in future generations if smoking rates were reduced, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms of these lung disorders include, but are not limited to, worsening cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, and back pain, among others. The symptoms are not very specific, and can often be attributed to other ailments. This makes screening all too important.
Below is a brief explanation of each condition.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Lung conditions marked by the inability to exhale normally.
Chronic bronchitis: A type of COPD distinguished by a chronic cough.
Emphysema: Lung damage that allows air to be trapped in your lungs and reduces the patient’s ability to blow out air.
Lung cancer can develop in any part of the lungs. Your treatment options depend on the type, location, and the spread of lung cancer in your body.
How Early Detection Saves Lives
Early detection for these diseases is crucial to any patient’s health. With any disease, the earlier it is detected, the earlier it can be fought. With lung disorders, it is highly beneficial for patients who have a history of smoking or chronic lung issues to get tested regularly.
Depending on the stage of lung cancer, treatment options include radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, and medications. The earlier the stage, the more options your doctor has to treat the condition effectively.
Science Supports Low-Dose CT Scans as Lung Cancer Screening
While the reduction of smoking rates is the best solution for lung diseases, early screening is the best way to catch the diseases early, and to reduce the chances of death. A newly accepted method of screening for lung cancer is an annual screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT).
The results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) found that screening with low-dose computed tomography scans compared to chest X-ray reduced lung cancer deaths among older heavy smokers by 15-20 percent.
Should You Get a Lung Cancer Screening?
Your primary care doctor is your first stop for discussing your smoking history, lung health, and lung cancer risks. If you need to find a low-dose CT lung screening, call Doctors Imaging.