Posted 3/4/2019 in Family Practice
Preventative screenings, like mammograms or colonoscopies, are an important way to check for cancers. Regional Medical Center (RMC) performs thousands of these tests per year, including the screening test for lung cancer, called a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan. During the CT scan, an X-ray machine scans the body and uses low dose radiation to take detailed pictures of the lungs.
This type of test is especially important for people who have a history of heavy smoking, people how smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and those who are between 55 and 80 years old. Determining if you’re a quote “heavy smoker” is based on a couple things: the number of years a person has smoked and the average number of packs smoked per day. If you multiple those factors together, you’ve got the number of your pack years. If that number is 30 pack years or more, you would be considered a heavy smoker.
“If any of these risk factors sound familiar, you should talk to your provider to schedule your screening,” said Dr. Scot Christiansen, family practice and OB provider at Regional Family Health in Manchester and Edgewood. “It’s virtually painless, but so important. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States - before breast cancer and colon cancer.”
The best way to lower your chances of dying from lung cancer is to stop smoking. More than 8 out of every 10 lung cancer cases in the U.S. are from smoking. “If you’re on the fence about quitting, take this as a sign! You don’t have to do this alone,” said Dr. Christiansen. The national quitline number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or talk to your healthcare provider for tips or support.
If you think the lung cancer CT screening might be right for you, Regional Family Health can help. Set up an appointment or learn more by calling 563-927-7777.