By Dr. Brad Vincent
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in Louisiana, but the disease is 80 to 90 percent curable when caught early. Early detection efforts, in the form of yearly low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans can help spot abnormalities at their earliest stages and reduce your risk for developing advanced lung cancer. You may meet the criteria for a lung cancer screening if:
- You have a history of smoking at least 30 pack-years: A pack-year is calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years you have smoked. Thirty pack-years could be equivalent to 30 years of smoking one pack a day or 15 years of smoking two packs a day.
- You quit smoking less than 15 years ago: Quitting smoking greatly decreases your risk of developing lung cancer, but if you have quit recently, a screening may still be appropriate.
- You are between the ages of 55 and 74: Advanced age is an important risk factor for lung cancer, and many other types of cancers.
Additional risk factors may be considered when determining whether or not to get screened, such as a previous diagnosis of lung cancer or cancer of the head and neck, a strong family history of lung cancer or exposure to radon or asbestos. Ask your doctor if a screening is right for you.
Lung Cancer Screening Program
Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center was the first site in the region to offer lung cancer screenings and the first to be recognized by the Lung Cancer Alliance as a Screening Center of Excellence. Upon scheduling a screening, you will be enrolled in the Lung Cancer Screening Clinic. By combining the precision of the CT scan and the multidisciplinary expertise available at the Lung Clinic, you will know quickly after the screening if further follow-up is needed.
If treatment is required, a team of experts with many years of experience in treating lung cancer is available to ensure seamless care, including surgeons, pulmonologists, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and others. Additionally, a patient navigator will partner and help guide you through the entire process. Survivorship services are also available to help with adjusting to life following lung cancer treatment.