This test could save more people from the deadliest form of cancer

This test could save more people from the deadliest form of cancer

A simple two-minute test is the most effective way to diagnose lung cancer, the most deadly type of cancer, according to research recently published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

“This study reinforces what we already know: low-dose CT screenings save lives,” says Dr. Gary Chmielewksi, a thoracic surgeon at Advocate Health Care. “In addition to smoking cessation, this is the most powerful tool we have in the fight against lung cancer. I strongly urge everyone to speak with their local provider to see if screening is right for you.”

Lung cancer claims the most lives each year, with more people dying from lung cancer than from colon, breast and prostate cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society. This is because lung cancer can grow undetected for a while before symptoms begin to show and is often incurable by the time it is diagnosed.

The recent study is a follow-up to previous research that compared diagnoses and mortality rates in more than 53,400 patients who underwent low-dose computed tomography (CT) screenings or chest radiography. The follow-up survey of this patient population reaffirmed the team’s conclusion that low-dose CT is the most effective screening tool for lung cancer and saves 20% more lives.

Low-dose CT is a simple, safe and effective test that takes only two minutes to complete. Your doctor is the best person to talk to about whether a screening is right for you. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends an annual screening for “adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.”

Concerned about your risk for lung cancer? Take a free, quick online assessment by clicking here.

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  1. What about younger adults who have been smoking for 10 or 15 years and their parent died from lung cancer, cant they get this CT at their younger age. my nephew is 31, smokes heavily, and his mom lost her life to lung cancer

  2. What about people who have quit smoking more than 15 years? Does it mean that you can get lung cancer only within 15 years of non smoking?
    My provider prescribed the low dose ct test and Medicare will not pay as I quit smoking 30 years ago.

  3. Laurie Dlouhy

    The current guidelines state that screening stops 15 years after quitting smoking, this is because the risk for lung cancer is felt to return to that of a non-smoker somewhere between 10 and 15 years after smoking cessation. The current age (55-80) and pack year (30-equivelent to smoking 1 ppd x 30 yrs) criteria is based on the study that showed screening to be effective. These criteria are currently under evaluation and some adjustments may be forthcoming.

  4. I was cured of Stage 3 lung cancer 4 years ago because my doctor knew to order a CT scan.

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About the Author

Jaimie Oh
Jaimie Oh

Jaimie Oh, health enews contributor, is regional manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Health Care. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has nearly a decade of experience working in publishing, strategic communications and marketing. Outside of work, Jaimie trains for marathons with the goal of running 50 races before she turns 50 years old.