Do you need a lung scan? You might, but take a moment to ask yourself a few questions first. What is a lung scan? A lung scan utilizes a computed tomography (CT) scan, which uses x-rays to produce detailed images of the lungs. Because it shows images of the lungs in a detailed cross-section, it is much more accurate at detecting cancer early than an x-ray.
How do I know if I need a lung scan?
Start by answering these questions:
- Are you a current smoker?
- Even if you don’t smoke anymore, do you have a long history of smoking?
- Do you have a family history of lung cancer?
- Are your pack years high? Your pack years are the number of packs a day you smoke/smoked, multiplied by the total number of years you have smoked. So a person who has smoked 2 packs a day for 10 years would have 20 pack years. Having 30 or more pack years is considered high-risk.
- Are you a smoker over the age of 55?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be a good candidate for a lung scan. The key to treating lung cancer is early detection, so by getting a lung scan, you are improving your chances of survival if you do have a cancer diagnosis. A lung scan can also help rule out chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary nodules, or lung cancer; or at least diagnose these early before other signs and symptoms occur.
How do I reduce my risk of lung cancer?
First of all, stop smoking! The number one thing you can do for the health of your lungs is to quit smoking as soon as possible. Second, talk to your doctor about a lung scan. If your doctor believes that you are a good candidate, schedule a scan right away. This will rule out potential health problems, or provide you with the earliest possible diagnosis if something is wrong.
Everyone deserves to be as healthy as they can be for as long as possible. Start taking steps today to protect your health and live a longer, healthier, more vibrant life.