WHAT IS LUNG CANCER SCREENING AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
The word “screening” usually refers to tests and procedures performed to look for a disease or a condition in people who are at risk of developing the disease. Mostly, screening tests are performed when there are symptoms of the disease in the person. In the case of lung cancer, the screening test is a low dose computed tomography (CT) of the chest. The goal of CT scan screening is to cut down the number of patients who die from lung cancer, as the test would help to detect the disease earlier.
Screening Lung Cancer in Community Clinics
Low income clinics and free womens health clinics offer lung cancer screening for low costs or even free for aged patients from underserved communities. Below are the eligibility criteria to get free lung cancer screening from community health care centers.
- The patient should be between 55 and 77 years of age, and should not have any current signs of lung cancer like unexplained weight loss greater than fifteen pounds (6.8 kg) in a year, or coughing up bloody sputum.
- The patient should have a tobacco smoking history of at least thirty pack years (Pack years is the number of cigarette packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked. For instance, smoking a pack of cigarettes each day for thirty years is equal to thirty pack years or two packs per day for fifteen years equals thirty pack years).
- The patient should be a current smoker or a person who has quit in the last fifteen years.
Benefits of Lung Cancer Screening
A low-dose chest CT scan can help to decrease the chances of death from lung cancer in those individuals who are at risk of developing the disease. The CT scan can guarantee minimal harm to the persons screened. In fact, the results of the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial found that the deaths from lung cancer decreased by 20 in individuals who had low dose CT scans annually.
Remember, quitting smoking is the best way to cut the risk of dying from lung cancer. Doctors and health care staffs at Complete Care community health center advise all smokers to quit the habit. We also offer free sessions to help people quit smoking. Visit our health care center to learn further on the smoking cessation classes and lung cancer screening offered by us.