Have Peace of Mind with Lung Cancer Screening

Last updated: May 2018

COPD patients spend a lot of time focused on their lung health. Between staying on top of breathing treatments, going to pulmonary rehabilitation and receiving important vaccinations that can prevent lung disease, COPD patients know how important it is to take care of their lungs. Now there is another test that should be on the radar of all COPD patients.

Lung cancer screening looks for lung cancer before a patient has any symptoms, when it is easier to treat. Not everyone with COPD is at high risk for lung cancer but many people with COPD are and should ask their doctor about low-dose CT screening.

You meet the high-risk criteria if you:

  • are between 55-77 and have private and insurance or 55-80 and have Medicare,
  • Are a current smoker or have quit in the past 15 years and
  • Have smoked an equivalent of 30 pack years (this means 1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.)

You might be wondering if you need a low-dose CT scan if you have had a chest X-ray. While chest X-rays can detect large nodules, low-dose CT scans are much more precise and the only type of test recommended for lung cancer screening. Low-dose CT scans can detect nodules as small as a grain of rice, which means even better and more accurate early detection. A landmark study found that low-dose CT scans reduced lung cancer mortality by 20% when compared to chest x-ray.

Receiving a yearly low-dose CT scan to screen for lung cancer, can help give you peace of mind and should be an important consideration for people with COPD. To see if you qualify for a low-dose CT screening, and for more information and resources on how to discuss with your doctor, insurance coverage, and lung cancer screening facilities visit SavedByTheScan.org.

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