Health Alert: Lung Cancer Screenings Part 1

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WDTV) -- West Virginia ranks in top five states for lung cancer. Tonight on Health Alert, we discuss the importance of a lung cancer screening and how it can make a difference. Joining us is Linda Carte with United Hospital Center.

Question: First, tell us what is a lung cancer screening test?

Answer: Lung cancer may be detected using a screening test called a low-dose CT scan or (LDCT). The LDCT is a new lung screening procedure that has the potential to detect lung cancer at earlier stages.

Question: Who is eligible for lung cancer screening?

Answer: You are eligible for an annual low-dose CT scan (LDCT) to screen for lung cancer if you meet all of the following criteria:

-Age 55 to 77 years old

-A 30 “pack year” or greater history of smoking

-A “pack year” is calculated from multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years you have smoked

-Either currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years

-No symptoms of lung cancer such as cough, shortness of breath or chest pain

-Able and willing to tolerate treatment if lung cancer is discovered

Question: Explain for us the benefits of a lung cancer screening?

Answer: Lung cancer may be cured if it is discovered early before it causes symptoms. Unfortunately, once a person develops symptoms, the lung cancer may have advanced to a stage that prevents cure.

A recent study funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), found that low-dose CT (LDCT) screening resulted in 20% fewer lung cancer deaths compared to screening with a standard chest X-ray. More of the lung cancers detected by LDCT were at an earlier stage than those detected by chest X-ray.

You will only benefit fully if you continue with annual screening until age 77 or until you have quit smoking for 15 years. If you are a current smoker, the best action that you can take to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to stop smoking. You will be provided tobacco cessation information after your scan is schedule. Individual Assistance is also available by calling 681-342-1804 or you can contact WV Tobacco Cessation Quit Line at 877-966-8784 or The American Cancer Society Quit Line at 1-800-227-2345.

Question: If the people watching are interested, how can they get screened for lung cancer?

Answer: Low-dose CT (LDCT) screening for lung cancer requires a referral from your physician. Talk to your doctor about your risk for the disease and discuss your eligibility for screening.