Everybody knows and has known for at least a few decades that smoking is bad for you. And although cigarette sales have plummeted and sexy nicotine print ads are rarely seen any longer in fashion magazines, millions of Americans still smoke every day. As one of the leading contributors to lung cancer, smoking can be attributed to taking too many lives each year. However, in a study published by The New England Journal of Medicine, it was discovered that if individuals who smoke or have smoked in the past receive a CT scan of their lungs at least once a year, there is a 20% decrease in the mortality rate caused by this aggressive form of cancer. Doctors and oncologists everywhere were delighted by this news because it finally gave them some sort of insight into preventative measures they could take in order to lower the death rate caused by this form of cancer.
Why CT Scans Over X-Rays?
X-rays were traditionally used as a form of detection of lung cancer in patients, however, after a serious amount of research, it was concluded that CT scans give a more thorough view of the lungs and allow radiologists to pick up even the tiniest sign of lung cancer in patients. Although not 100% foolproof, CT scans still give doctors and radiologists better insight into a patient’s lungs and help them detect any signs of potential lung cancer.
In order to fully take advantage of these CT scans that help to detect early signs of lung cancer, patients must meet the following criteria as outlined by The National Cancer Society:
- 55 to 74 years old
- In fairly good health (discussed further down)
- Have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history (this was discussed above)
- Are either still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
If you or a family member fit the criteria listed above, speak with your doctor about scheduling a CT scan right away— after all, it could end up saving your life.
To learn more about the benefits of CT scans or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today!