Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths, accounting for nearly 1 out of 4. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. While being diagnosed with lung cancer is very serious, some people with early stage cancers can be cured. Over 430,000 people who have been diagnosed with lung cancer at some point in their lifetime are alive today. “Catching it in the early stages can be difficult because most lung cancers do not present any symptoms until they have spread, which is why it is so important for those who are at risk to get a lung cancer screening,” notes Dr. Jennifer Minoff, pulmonologist with Hannibal Regional Medical Group. The only recommended screening for lung cancer is a low-dose computed tomography (CT) and the screening is available at the James E. Cary Cancer Center.
Many insurance plans now cover lung cancer screenings, including Medicare and Marketplace Insurance Plans. Lung cancer screenings are available for a cash price of $159. A lung cancer screening may be right for you if:
- You are between the ages of 55 - 79
- You smoke or have smoked an average of one pack per day for 30 years
- If you are an ex-smoker, you have quit in the last 15 years
- Or have one additional risk factor of COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, personal or family history of cancer, radon exposure, occupational exposure to asbestos, silica, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium, chromium, diesel fumes, or nickel
After a lung cancer diagnosis, your doctor will help you determine next steps for your treatment. Chemotherapy or radiation is often used to destroy the cancer cells and surgery may also be recommended. “Surgery can be an effective treatment for lung cancer and different options exist. Your doctor may also recommend chemotherapy or radiation after surgery. This treatment is a precaution and helps kill microscopic cancer cells, which could spread to your lymph nodes,” shares Dr. Minoff. “The sooner you begin treatment for lung cancer, the better the chance of good results.”
If you meet the criteria and are at risk for lung cancer, call the James E. Cary Cancer Center at 573-406-5801 to schedule a lung cancer screening or talk with your primary care provider.