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5 Reasons to Consider a Lung Cancer Screening

A lung cancer screening can identify warning signs of cancer in the early stages when the condition may be easier to treat. While you may not need routine lung cancer screenings until age 50 if you’re otherwise healthy, some risk factors call for earlier testing.

At Stat Care Pulmonary and Sleep, our pulmonary specialists, Ashok Tyagi, DO, CPE, and Himanshu Chandarana, MD, offer lung cancer screenings at our St. Petersburg, Florida, office. 

They also provide comprehensive diagnostic testing for other lung diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

What to know about lung cancer screenings

Lung cancer screenings are preventive tests to detect cancerous cells or masses in your lungs.

Lung cancer occurs when abnormal cells divide and multiply. Non-small cell lung cancer is an umbrella term for adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinomas, and large cell carcinomas.

These types of cancers are more common than small cell lung cancer, which almost exclusively affects people who smoke heavily.

While smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, you can still develop the disease without a smoking history. Other risk factors for lung cancer include exposure to radiation, asbestos, and secondhand smoke and a family history of lung cancer.

5 reasons you may need lung cancer screenings now

Preventive screenings, including tests for lung cancer, are a common part of a health care plan in adults 50 and over. However, having any risk factors for lung cancer may mean you need to schedule screenings earlier.

Here are five reasons you may need a lung cancer screening before you’re 50:

1. You have unusual symptoms

Lung cancer may not cause any noticeable symptoms in the earliest stage. As the disease progresses, you may experience a persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and hoarseness. Some people also cough up a small amount of blood.

To rule out lung cancer and identify the cause of your symptoms, we use chest X-rays and other diagnostic imaging tests to evaluate your lungs.

2. You smoked within the last 15 years

While quitting smoking is a positive step, you still need routine lung cancer screenings if you currently smoke or have smoked in the last 15 years.

Our pulmonary team offers smoking cessation resources to kick the smoking habit for good. Quitting now lowers your risk factors for cancer and other lung diseases later.

3. You had a pack-a-day smoking habit

Heavy smokers need routine lung cancer screenings. That includes those who smoked a pack a day for 20 years or more and those who smoked two packs a day for 10 years. Early screenings can identify lung changes that may lead to cancer and other chronic lung diseases.

4. You have a personal or family history of cancer

A history of lung cancer can increase your risk of cancer recurrence. The earlier we can diagnose new cancer cells, the more effective your treatment can be. You also need routine lung cancer screenings if you have a parent or sibling with the disease.

5. You want to avoid cancer spread

Lung cancer originates in the cells of your lungs but can also spread (metastasize) to other areas of your body, including nearby lymph nodes. Once cancer spreads, it becomes more difficult to treat.

Note also that cancer originating in other parts of your body can spread to your lungs. For this reason, schedule routine cancer screenings to identify other types of cancer based on your risk factors for the disease.

Call Stat Care Pulmonary and Sleep today to schedule a lung cancer screening if you have risk factors for the disease.

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