Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. These abnormal cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue. As they grow, the abnormal cells can form tumors and interfere with the functioning of the lung, which provides oxygen to the body via the blood. Symptoms include persistent cough, sputum streaked with blood, chest pain, voice change, worsening shortness of breath, and recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis. Symptoms usually do not appear until the cancer is advanced, which increases the need for early detection.
1 in 14 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer
Lung cancer kills roughly 160,340 people a year
15% of diagnoses happen in the early stages
*Facts provided by Lung Cancer Alliance
Is A Lung Screening Right for You?
When lung cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, it is more easily treated and potentially curable. Charleston Area Medical Center offers annual lung cancer screening for patients at high risk for developing lung cancer using low-dose computer tomography (CT). Research has shown a significant decrease in deaths when low-dose CT scans are used as a screening tool for people at high risk for lung cancer. The goal of the CAMC Lung Cancer Screening Program is to detect lung cancer early, when it is most treatable.
American Cancer Society
Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines:
– 55 to 74 years old
– In fairly good health (discussed further down)
– Have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history (discussed above)
– Are either still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
Frequently Ask Questions
What is a screening?
A screening is looking for a disease before a person has any symptoms, which can help to and lung cancer in an early, more treatable stage. Based on research, if a group of 1000 people were screened once a year for 3 years, 3 fewer people in 1000 would die of lung cancer after 6 years. This means that, instead of 21 people, 18 people per 1000 would die of lung cancer.
Why not screen everyone?
There is no proof from research that it is best to screen everyone. Screening people who are not a thigh risk or who are very ill may cause more harm than good. False alarms can lead to more testing and risk of harm.
Are there any symptoms of lung cancer that I should watch for?
Contact your health care team if you notice any of the following:
- Have a new cough that doesn’t go away
- Notice a change in a chronic cough
- Cough up blood, even a small amount
- Develop a shortness of breath or chest pain
- Lose weight without trying
Is there a cost for the screening?
Cost is covered by most insurance companies.
How is screening for lung cancer done?
We screen for lung cancer using a low-dose spiral CT (LDCT) scan. This LDCT scan gives a detailed picture of your lungs. You will go to the radiology (X-Ray) department for your LDCT scan. You will lie on a table and raise your arms above your head. Then the table will slide into the scanner. We will ask you to hold your breath for about 20 seconds during the scan.
How often should screening be done?
Based on current research, screening should be done once a year for as long as you meet the screening criteria. You should contact your family physician to discuss and to schedule all screenings.
How Our Team Treats Lung Tumors
At the Radiation Oncology Services at CAMC, lung cancer patients are treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) using the TrueBeam™ STx system. TrueBeam STx is a noninvasive outpatient stereotactic radiation therapy treatment with minimal to no side effects. During the treatment, TrueBeam STx rotates around the patient to deliver hundreds of concentrated and precise beams of radiation to tumors and lesions in the lung. TrueBeam STx combines advanced imaging and beam delivery to target tumors quickly and accurately, from nearly any angle. Real-time imaging tools allow clinicians to see the tumor they are about to treat and respiratory gating makes it possible to synchronize beam delivery with the patient’s breathing.
Radiation Oncology Services at CAMC’s Advantage
- Few to no side effects
- Outpatient procedure lasting 10-15 minutes daily
- Minimal to no recovery time
- Return to your normal activities following treatment
Speak with one of our dedicated Team Member about how we can help today.