Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, with tobacco use being the main risk factor. It is estimated that approximately 80% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking, and the risk of developing lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and the duration of the smoking habit.
Despite the well-known dangers of smoking and the efforts to reduce its prevalence, millions of people continue to smoke and are at risk for developing lung cancer.
Annual Lung Cancer Screenings
CT scans are a non-invasive and painless way to detect lung cancer early, and they are much more accurate than traditional X-rays. They use low-dose radiation to create detailed images of the lungs, which can help identify abnormalities or abnormalities that may indicate the presence of cancer.
Recent research suggests that annual lung cancer screenings with CT scans can significantly improve the chances of survival for smokers.
Lung cancer can take years or even decades to develop, and it is often not detected until it is in an advanced stage. By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have grown too much or spread to other parts of the body, making it too difficult or too late to treat.
Only 16% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage, and over half of these individuals die within one year of being diagnosed.
For 30 years now, the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP) has been conducting research on over 87,000 participants.
These researchers recently reported that cases of lung cancer that were first detected through routine screenings had a 20-year survival rate of over 80%.
This is a huge finding that shows the value of screening for cancer even when no symptoms are present.
Who Should Get Annual Lung Cancer Screenings?
Annual lung cancer screenings are recommended for people who are at high risk of developing the disease, including smokers and former smokers.
The American Cancer Society (ACS), the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American College of Chest Physicians all recommend yearly lung cancer screenings with low-dose CT scans for people who:
● Are between 50–80 years old, even if you are in good health AND
● Currently smoke cigarettes or have quit sometime in the past 15 years AND
● At least a 20 pack-year smoking history (packs of cigarettes per day multiplied by the number of years smoked)
Lung cancer is a serious and often deadly disease, and smoking is the leading culprit. Annual lung cancer screenings with CT scans can significantly improve the chances of survival for smokers, and they are recommended for people who are at high risk of developing the disease.