Lung Cancer Screenings
It used to be that with a diagnosis of lung cancer, the chance of a cure was very low. That’s because by the time symptoms appeared, the cancer already had reached an advanced stage. Now, thanks to advanced lung cancer screening options, there’s hope for identifying the disease early, when it’s most treatable. To learn more, visit NortonHealthcare.com/LungCancerScreening.
Lung Cancer Disparities
In its March 2021 revised guidelines for lung cancer screening, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPTF) noted Black men have a higher incidence of lung cancer than white men, and Black women have a lower incidence than white women.
Reasons for the disparity were likely prevalence of smoking and other social risk factors, the USPSTF said in explaining that it would limit its recommendation to age and smoking history alone.
The rate of new lung cancer cases among Blacks in Kentucky is significantly higher than the national rate and significantly lower than the rate of whites in the state.
Just more than 10% of cases in Kentucky go untreated, possibly because of advanced cancer or refusal of treatment. Nationally, 15% of cases aren’t treated, according to the lung association
Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines
Lung cancer screening is recommended for those who are at high risk due to cigarette smoking. You may be a candidate if you meet all the following criteria:
- Age 50 to 80
- Are a current smoker or quit within the past 15 years
- Smoking history of 20 pack years (Multiply typical packs per day by number of years. For example, two packs per day for 10 years is 20 pack years.)
Norton Cancer Institute uses high-speed, low-dose computed tomography (CT) scanning, which can detect even the tiniest of nodules. The screening scan — which is painless, noninvasive and takes just a few minutes — is offered to individuals at high risk for developing lung cancer.
Studies have shown that early diagnosis with tools like CT scans can reduce the risk of death from lung cancer by up to 20 percent.
If you are at an increased risk for lung cancer, talk to your physician or call (502) 629-LUNG (5864) to speak with a patient navigator.
Preventing Lung Cancer
Experts agree that the best way to prevent lung cancer is to quit smoking or prevent exposure to secondhand smoke. If you currently smoke or have a history of smoking, it’s important to get regular checkups with a physician and get screened for lung cancer.
Norton Healthcare Prevention & Wellness offers a comprehensive tobacco cessation program to help you stop using tobacco. Classes are offered at a variety of times and locations to make quitting tobacco easy and convenient.
Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer
If you believe you are at high risk for lung cancer, talk with your doctor. Lung cancer signs and symptoms may include:
- Coughing up blood
- Lung infections (bronchitis or pneumonia) that won’t go away or keep coming back
- Cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse
- Chest pain that is often worse when deep breathing, coughing or laughing
- Weight loss, loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or weak
Unfortunately, most people don’t experience those lung cancer signs right away. In fact, more than 50 percent of people who have lung cancer aren’t diagnosed until it has spread to other parts of the body, when it is treatable but rarely cured. That’s why early screenings are so important.
If you are experiencing these lung cancer signs or are concerned that you are at an increased risk for lung cancer, talk to your physician or call (502) 629-LUNG (5864) to speak with a patient navigator.