Concerned About Lung Cancer? Screening Offers Peace of Mind

posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2023

If you have been a lifelong smoker, you may wonder about your risk of developing lung cancer. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, with cigarette smoking linked to 80-90 percent of lung cancers in the United States.

Spencer Hospital offers a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening services to help detect lung cancer in early, more treatable stages. If you have concerns, we encourage you to visit with your healthcare provider to see if a lung cancer screening is right for you.

What is lung cancer screening with low-dose CT?

During a low-dose CT scan, you lie on a table that slides back and forth into an x-ray machine that resembles a large “donut” to take the pictures needed. This scan only takes a few minutes and is not painful.

Who should be screened?

The American College of Radiology recommends lung cancer screenings for individuals who meet these qualifications.

  • Are 50 - 77 years old
  • Do not have any signs or symptoms of lung cancer (diagnostic testing may be recommended for people who do have signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
  • Have not had lung cancer before
  • If you are a current smoker or have quit smoking within the past 15 years
  • Have a 20 pack-year smoking history, meaning you’ve routinely smoked one pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for 10 years

Medicare covers the cost of this screening for people who meet the above qualifications. If you have private insurance, check with your provider to determine if your screening will be covered.

Signs & Symptoms of Possible Lung Cancer

  • A new cough that does not go away or gets worse
  • Chest pain that is often worse when you breathe deeply, cough, or laugh
  • A hoarse voice
  • Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored spit or phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that do not go away or keep coming back
  • Wheezing

As always, early detection of any cancer leads to the best options for successful treatment. Don’t put off knowing what can have you breathing a sigh of relief. For questions about lung screening services at Spencer Hospital, please call (712) 264-6500.

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