Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among all cancers in American men and women. It’s especially a concern if you’re a current or former smoker. Lung cancer, however, can be very treatable if caught early enough. A lung cancer screening involves a CT scan of the lungs, which can detect small tumors that may be able to be removed by surgery before they grow and spread.

With that in mind, Essex Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about who should be screened for lung cancer and how often.

Who Should Get a Lung Cancer Screening?

The CDC advises the following people to get a yearly lung cancer screening:

  • All current or former smokers between 55 and 80 years old.
  • Any age if you smoke heavily or used to smoke a lot but have quit over the past 15 years. Heavy smoking is considered to be a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.

Risks to Lung Cancer Screening

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has found that the potential benefits of lung cancer screening outweigh the risks, but there are some, including false positive results that can lead to more costly and potentially risky tests. Another risk is that radiation from repeated CT scans of the lungs can itself cause cancer. If you’re a candidate for screening and have any concerns, be sure to talk to your doctor.

The Bottom Line: Don’t Smoke

Keeping yourself free from smoking is the best way to avoid a lung cancer screening and greatly reduce your risk for the disease.

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