The Power of Screening for Lung Cancer
December 5 – 9 is lung cancer screening awareness week. Screening can save your life or the life of someone you love.
Sixteen years ago, I was lucky enough to have found my lung cancer by accident! My incredible story is on our Upstage Lung Cancer website. It was only though a series of mishaps that I found out I had lung cancer. It was at the earliest stage. Because of that, I’m grateful to say I’m still here to tell the story and celebrate my life with friends and family.
I’ve learned a lot about lung cancer over these years. One thing I know for sure is that we can’t rely on accidental happenings to detect lung cancer. This disease remains the number one cancer killer, for both women and men throughout the world. Fortunately, we now have the opportunity, for those who qualify, to have low-dose CT scans to detect lung cancer earlier.
While smoking is still the leading cause of lung cancer, many people are diagnosed each year who don’t currently smoke or who never smoked. Now, we have evidence that annual screenings with low-dose CT (LDCT) can save lives. Currently, the 5-year survival rate can improve from 25% to 64%, if diagnosed early.
People at high risk include individuals 55 to 77 years old, current and former smokers, those who have quit in the past 15 years and meet certain other criteria, those who have a 20 pack-year history, people exposed to cancer-causing substances in the workplace and people who have a personal or family history of lung cancer or who had previous radiation therapy to the chest.
Please talk to your doctor if any of these criteria apply to you. Screening can be free or low cost if you have coverage through the Affordable Care Act, have Medicare and Medicaid Services. You may also check cost with your own insurance carrier.
DON’T WAIT TO GET SCREENED. Symptoms of lung cancer don’t appear until later stages, so get more information today.
To help you find where you can find lung cancer screening in your area, use The American College of Radiology Lung Cancer Screening Locator Tool.
Please share this information. We’re all in this together!