What You Need to Know About Lung Cancer Detection

Lung cancer is among the toughest cancers to diagnose early because of its non-specific symptoms and a widely accepted screening process has not been adopted yet. The purpose of lung cancer screening is to find the disease at an early stage, before symptoms appear, making the chances for successful treatment greater.

Screening is recommended for those with the highest risk of lung cancer, including patients who are current or former smokers with a history of at least one pack a day for 30 years. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended a low-dose CT scan every year for people aged 55 to 79 years old who are current smokers or have quit in the last 15 years.

While screenings can be helpful in diagnosing cancer early, patients should be cautious when seeking screenings to prevent over-diagnosis, or diagnosing a disease that will never cause symptoms. Early lung cancer detection can also be possible when patients and their family members are proactive and aware of risks and symptoms. Doctors have determined that passive smoking or secondhand smoking can put people at a higher risk for a lung cancer diagnosis and has other damaging health effects, especially for children.

To learn more about lung cancer screening and guidelines, visit the American Lung Association.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.