Lung cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease. While it can impact otherwise healthy people in a variety of age groups, there are some factors which can put you at an increased risk. Avoiding bad habits, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and reporting any unusual symptoms immediately to your medical provider are all steps you can take to protect yourself against developing this type of cancer. However, as the disease often goes undetected in the early stages, allowing it to progress, additional action may be required.
Preventative screening is a smart option for some people, particularly those who meet specific criteria. At Intermountain Medical Imaging, we offer safe, reliable lung cancer screening tests that can help ensure you get the proper treatment.
What Is Lung Cancer Screening?
Advances in medicine and technology help people live longer, healthier lives. Diseases that once went undetected can now be uncovered and treated early, increasing your likelihood for a positive outcome.
There are a variety of preventative screening tests to detect abnormalities and chronic health conditions, many of which rely on radiology. In terms of lung cancer screening, the most commonly used is computed tomography, otherwise known as a CT scan. This takes x-rays of your body and relies on a low dose of radiation to obtain detailed images of the lungs and the way they are functioning. Information regarding tumors, growths, and other abnormalities can be detected through a CT lung scan so that patients affected can seek medical treatment.
When to Get a Lung Cancer Screening
Lung cancer is one of the most common and potentially serious types of cancers. It represents roughly 13 percent of all cancer diagnoses, with close to 240,000 new cases each year. Unfortunately, people with lung cancer in the early stages may experience no apparent symptoms, and it can take time for your doctor to uncover your condition. This allows the disease to progress and become more severe, increasing the odds of requiring drastic medical interventions and decreasing the survival rate.
Lung cancer screening is a valuable tool for detecting the disease in the early stages when it is more easily treated and before it has spread to other parts of the body. In terms of when to get a lung cancer screening, you should consider making an appointment at IMI at your doctor’s suggestion and if you have any of the following lung cancer risk factors:
- If you are currently a smoker, or;
- If you previously were a heavy smoker but recently quit, and;
- You are between the ages of 55 and 85.
A heavy smoker is defined as someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or more. Even if you engaged in this habit for a lesser amount of time, you could still face significant risks depending on the actual amount you smoked. Quitting is a smart idea, but you should still continue to get lung cancer screening for at least 15 years after your last cigarette.
Lung Cancer Screening
Taking preventative measures to prevent lung cancer is key to maintaining your health. This includes quitting smoking and avoiding places where you may be exposed to second-hand smoke from others. It also includes avoiding environments where you could be exposed to toxic chemicals or fumes, such as on your job. As a preventative measure, your doctor may recommend lung cancer screening at IMI if you have any risk factors listed above or may recommend a diagnostic CT scan if you exhibit symptoms of lung cancer, such as:
- Constant chest pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Chronic cough
- A history of respiratory problems
At IMI, we offer lung cancer screening at our Meridian and Eagle locations, which is safe and effective at detecting abnormalities in the early stages. After you obtain a referral from your doctor and meet other eligibility requirements, we will schedule your scan. You should arrive at our office dressed in loose, casual clothes. The scan itself is painless and will be over quickly, and our radiologist will be on hand to answer any questions. Once we have a chance to review the results of your lung cancer screening, a report will be delivered to your doctor. They will then advise you on whether additional testing or treatments are needed.
How to Schedule Your Lung Cancer Screening
At Intermountain Medical Imaging, helping you maintain your good health is a top priority. Reach our to your primary healthcare provider to discuss whether you are a candidate for CT lung cancer screening or to request an appointment at Intermountain Medical Imaging.