Lung cancer is often diagnosed too late to be treated effectively. So, how do you know if you or a loved one should be screened? This Time Magazine article provides a lot of information and a quiz to determine your risks for lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women, partly because the disease is often diagnosed too late to treat effectively. The American Lung Association wants to change that, by encouraging people who are at high risk of lung cancer to talk to their doctor about a potentially lifesaving screening procedure.
On a website launched this month, people can take a short quiz to determine whether they fall under the recommended guidelines for screening. In general, people are considered at high risk for lung cancer—and should talk to their doctor about getting screened—if they meet all the following criteria:
- They are between 55 and 80 years old (or between 55 and 77 if on Medicare)
They have a 30 pack-year history of smoking—which means that the number of packs they’ve smoked per day multiplied by the number of years they’ve smoked is equal to 30. (For example, people who’ve smoked one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years would both have a 30 pack-year history.)
- They are a current smoker or have quit within the last 15 years
High-risk patients can be screened with a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan, which produces sharper and more detailed images than an X-ray. This test can often detect lung cancer before symptoms arise, when it’s most likely to respond to treatment. Survival rates for lung cancer are five times higher when the disease is caught in its early stages. LEARN MORE.