Should You Get Screened for Lung Cancer?

Easton, PA – August 15, 2016 – Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., with more than 150,000 people losing their lives to the disease each year – it’s more than breast, prostate, colon and ovarian cancer deaths combined.

Pennsylvania is number 18 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2013 rankings based on the incidence of lung cancer. While there are more cases of female breast and prostate cancers than lung cancer in Pennsylvania, the number of deaths from lung cancer is higher.

Despite the steady rise in this statistic over the past fifteen years, the number of people being screened for lung cancer falls far behind those screened for breast or colon cancers. This is an especially dangerous oversight if you are, or have been, a heavy smoker. Screening is looking for cancer before you have any symptoms, which can help find cancer at an early stage when it may be easier to treat.

“Patients whose lung cancer is detected in the earliest stage have a much better chance of survival,” says radiologist Gregg Schubach, M.D. “Conversely, survival rates for lung cancer are quite low when it’s diagnosed in the later stages of the disease. Through CT screening, we can catch the tumor early and offer the patient more treatment options, and more time for those treatments to work.”

According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, annual screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT scan) is recommended for those who are:

  • Adults aged 55 to 80 years, AND
  • Have a “30 pack-year smoking history” and currently smoke, OR
  • Have quit within the past 15 years

A “30 pack-year smoking history” means you’ve smoked an average of one pack per day for 30 years, or two packs per day for 15 years.

A low-dose CT scan uses an X-ray machine to scan the body with low doses of radiation to make detailed pictures of the lungs. If you or a loved one meets the guidelines above, you should speak to your doctor about a screening plan. Lung cancer frequently has no symptoms at all in the early stages, contributing to the higher mortality rate.

To find a doctor who can help you learn more about your risk for lung cancer and need for screening, visit our Find A Doctor section or call (610) 250-4242 to find a physician.

About Easton Hospital Easton Hospital is a 254-bed acute care teaching hospital serving more than 300,000 residents in Northampton County and the five surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Founded in 1890, the hospital celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2015. Easton Hospital offers an active Emergency Department which sees more than 32,000 annual visits; a cardiac care program recognized as an accredited Chest Pain Center and one of 55 designated Heart Attack Receiving Centers in the country; a Center for Orthopedics, Joint and Spine which is accredited by the Joint Commission for both total-hip and total-knee replacement; a certified Primary Stroke Center; a Surgical Weight Loss program designated as an accredited center in Bariatric Surgery; and the Easton Regional Cancer Center which is a member of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network at Jefferson. In addition, the hospital maintains two free-standing, fully-accredited residency training programs in surgery and internal medicine. For more information and a complete list of services offered at Easton Hospital, visit the hospital’s website: www.easton-hospital.com.

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