Risk FactorsLung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and around 80 percent of those deaths are attributed to smoking. While causes of lung cancer can be varied, people at the highest risk of developing lung cancer are those with a history of smoking tobacco.
You should be screened for lung cancer if you meet all of the following risk factors:
- You are between 55 and 77 years old.
- Do not have any signs or symptoms (diagnostic testing is recommended for those with signs or symptoms).
- You've never had lung cancer.
- You currently smoke or quit less than 15 years ago.
- Are or were a heavy smoker (one pack per day for 30 years, or two packs per day for 15 years).
If you meet all of the risk factors, ask your doctor for a referral to Renown's Lung Cancer Screening Program. You will then meet with an oncology nurse practitioner to review the risks and benefits of screening. Studies have shown that screening those at high risk with CT scans before symptoms appear can find lung cancer early when it is easier to treat and more likely to be cured.
Low-Dose CT Scan
Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) has proven to find lung cancer at its earliest stages. This scan uses roughly a quarter of the radiation as a normal CT scan. During the screening, you will lie on your back with your hands above your head. Then, your doctor will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds while they take a series of pictures. The whole process takes about 30 minutes, and you do not need to do anything special to prepare for the screening.