Should you be screened for lung cancer?

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer, aside from skin cancer, in both men and women in the U.S. It’s also the No. 1 cause of cancer death in this country.

Fortunately, there is a painless and noninvasive screening test that is used to diagnose lung cancer early and potentially when it’s more treatable.

A low-dose CT scan can help find abnormalities in the lungs that may be cancer. Studies have shown that using low-dose CT scans to screen people for lung cancer saves more lives than using chest x-rays. That’s because a CT scan produces detailed images of the lung that can find small abnormalities better than a chest x-ray.

Joehar Hamdan, DO

“With any cancer, it is important to try to catch it in its earliest stage, when it is most likely to be treatable,” says Joehar Hamdan, DO, oncologist and hematologist at the Riverside Cancer Institute.

Who should be screened?
If you have a smoking history or a former smoking history, talk with your provider about your lung cancer screening options.

Are there risks to screening?
As with any test, there are potential risks. A CT lung cancer screening exam does produce a small amount of radiation. The radiation dose is less than the yearly average of radiation received from background, or cosmic, radiation in our everyday environment.
CT scans are also so detailed that they can find other abnormalities, which may warrant further testing. Talk with your provider about your risks for lung cancer and if you would benefit from an annual lung screening.

“A screening could save your life,” Dr. Hamdan says.

To learn about the cancer screenings, services and treatments available at Riverside Healthcare, please visit the Riverside Cancer Institute.