As diagnostic radiologists, we have the unique capacity to help ensure best possible health for our patients, not via administering strong medicine to the sick, but with early detection of a disease, before one has symptoms. We say this all the time, because we experience this in our own practice all the time: early detection saves lives.
We are excited to note that as of yesterday, the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has made a draft recommendation for screening for lung cancer in high-risk patients. CT scans for this group of people can be life-saving tool.
There have been decades of research dedicated to determining the best way to detect lung cancer and detection at a stage that is most treatable. Lung cancer is the #1 cause of cancer death in the US and causes more deaths than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. Lung cancer is often caught late; with only a one-in-ten chance of survival. Patients detected early, before symptoms arise, may have a greater chance of a cure.
The USPSTF has researched methods of early detection and concluded that low-dose CT scans for certain portions of the population can be beneficial in terms of lung cancer. So, smokers and former smokers alike, listen to this please:
“After reviewing the evidence, the task force determined that you can reach a reasonable balance of benefits and harms by screening people who are 55 to 80 years old and have a 30 pack year or greater history of smoking, who are either current smokers or have quit in the past fifteen years. A “pack year” means that someone has smoked an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for a year. For example, a person reaches 30 pack years of smoking history by smoking a pack 1 day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.”
Together, we can help save lives. Please share this valuable information with those you care about. (And please care about yourself enough to stop smoking; there are resources available for that as well.) Please talk to your medical care provider to see if you are a candidate for CT lung screening. We’ll be cheering you on for your best possible health the whole way!
Originally published 7/30/13 on diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com.