This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates that close to 250,000 adults across the country will get diagnosed with lung cancer, and just shy of 135,000 of these people with die from the disease.
While lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women, there are indications that the numbers are dropping. Why the difference? As more people quit smoking and individuals in high-risk categories have the recommended screenings, cases decline, and outcomes with early treatment improve.
At the office of North Jersey Pulmonary Associates in Totowa, New Jersey, we provide advanced care to prevent, manage, and treat pulmonary disease and disorders. For patients at risk of developing lung cancer, we emphasize the importance of annual screenings.
Because 90% of lung cases are attributable to cigarette smoking and the average age at diagnosis is 70 years, the latest guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force include the following recommendations:
“The USPSTF recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 50 to 80 years who have a 20-pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery.”
(The phrase a 20-pack-year refers to smoking a pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for 10 years.)
Early detection, before symptoms appear, significantly lowers one’s chances of dying from the disease.
Symptoms of lung cancer typically appear when the disease has already reached an advanced stage. With this in mind, the goal of screenings is to catch lung cancer in its earliest stages when surgery and other forms of treatment have the most chance of success. While the overall survival rate is 20.5%, if the cancer gets detected early enough, it may be more amenable to treatment and a better outcome more likely.
Providing screenings, precise diagnoses, and skilled care
As skilled and experienced specialists, you can count on the professional team at North Jersey Pulmonary Associates to explain your risk of lung cancer, the screening guidelines, and how they apply to you. We’ll also review what to expect during a low-dose CAT scan and the type of information this screening test provides. If any signs of a problem are detected, we’ll carefully assess the situation, and explain your need for any further testing or care.
By North Jersey Pulmonary Associates
July 1, 2021