The lung is an essential organ in the human body, responsible for taking in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. They are in the chest cavity and two in number. Screening is a technique which utilises diagnostic tests to check for diseases which haven’t shown any signs or symptoms.
Usually, a low-dosage CT scan comes to use to detect Lung Cancer. It is always beneficial to detect cancer at its earliest stage, and this is the way to do that.
Who should get a Lung Cancer Screening done?
There are some prerequisites which have to be met for lung screening tests. Individuals should get a screening done if they relate to the following
- Consumption of tobacco: Whether it is smokeless or with smoke, tobacco consumption is injurious to health. Individuals above the age of 55 and with a history of smoking should get themselves screened.
- Individuals who have a 30 pack-year (a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years) smoking history are ideal candidates for the screening. Also, individuals who currently smoke or stopped smoking 15 years back should get the screening done.
- Has frequent exposure to asbestos, radon or other cancer-causing materials
- Have a family history or personal history of lung cancer
- Have a lung disease for a very long time
When Should Lung Screening Tests Stop?
Lung Screening tests can be stopped when
- The individual is above 80 years of age
- The individual is too chronically unwell to get lung surgery if the screening tests detect cancer.
- Has not smoked for over 15 years and wasn’t smoking regularly before that.
What are the Risks of Lung Cancer Screening?
There are always some risks attached to medical procedures. In this case, some of the risks are
- Unnecessary follow-up tests
- Detecting cancer which is beyond treatment and too advanced to be cured
- Detecting cancer which would have caused no harm to the individual. This is also known as over-detection
- Not detecting cancers which are present in the individual
How Should One Prepare for the Lung Cancer Screening Test?
If the screening is being done using a CT scan, the following should be done
- Fast 2-4 hrs before the test
- Change into the hospital gown before the procedure begins
- Do not wear any kind of metal, jewellery, hearing-aids, denture or accessories
What About the Lung Cancer Screening Test Results?
If there are no findings, the doctor will ask you to come for a screening test after one year. If the CT scan identifies nodules in the lung, further CT scan and other tests will be advised. The growth of the nodule will be monitored. Usually, fast-growing nodules are cancer cells. In some cases, Lung cancer screening may also identify other medical problems, for which the doctor may recommend other diagnostic tests.
It is always advisable to keep in touch with your doctor and if you fall in the above-mentioned categories, do get the Lung cancer Screening tests regularly.
To know more about the relation between smoking and lung cancer, read the article by Dr Anand Jaiswal, Director of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Medanta The Medicity, Gurugram, below
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