Hospitals Screen for Lung Cancer – Should You Get Tested?

Lung Cancer Screening in Hospitals

Hospitals all over the country are screening for lung cancer. According to the CDC, the choice to be screened should be an educated choice.

Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in America. According to recent estimates, lung cancer causes more than 150,000 deaths each year, more than the next three leading causes (colon, breast, and pancreatic cancer) combined. This is a worrying phenomenon and is undoubtedly accelerated by the rate at which a person smokes, as well as air pollution-related factors such as car exhaust, industrial emissions, and other emissions that can blanket cities with dense smog. It is a serious epidemic with long-term effects on everyone diagnosed, even if the symptoms are detected early. As a result, lung cancer testing is very important. Many hospitals offer free screening and if you are at risk it is highly recommended that you go through the screening.

Who is at risk?

As with most serious illnesses, many people choose not to admit that they are at risk for lung cancer. While understandable, this exaggerated reluctance must be stopped. Many people will benefit greatly from early detection, as modern medical techniques can greatly assist those diagnosed. According to the CDC, people with a history of heavy smoking who still smoke should be tested at one of their local hospitals. This includes people who have quit smoking in the past 15 years and people aged 55-80 who have smoked in the past. Heavy smoking is defined as smoking 30 pack-years per day or 30 packs per day.

Why shouldn’t everyone be tested?

With a disease as dreadful as lung cancer, it may seem surprising that the CDC doesn’t recommend testing for every American. However, the test has its own risks, which can be serious and should be taken care of in any case. The first risk is a false positive test result. A false-positive result occurs if the test shows that the patient does not actually have the disease. Such an outcome can lead to overtesting and even unnecessary surgery.

The second risk is the diagnosis of excessive lung cancer, which occurs when the patient has lung cancer, but if the tumor is completely benign and does not cause any problems in the patient. These cases often result in unnecessary treatments.

Finally, there is the issue of radiation exposure. The only test recommended by the CDC is a “low-dose computed tomography” or CT scan. A CT scan involves an X-ray machine that uses low doses of radiation to take pictures of the lungs. Radiation from a CT scan can cause cancer even in healthy people if the test is repeated too often. For these reasons, medical professionals recommend that people get regular screening only when they are at risk. Be sure to call hospitals that follow CDC recommended practices.

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