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Lung Cancer Screening Early Detection Saves Lives

Thursday, March 14, 2019 | Activity
Lung Cancer Screening Early Detection Saves Lives

Why  is early detection of lung cancer important ?

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. 1.6 million people die from lung cancer  each  year. Delay in diagnosis is the most important factor of  this high death rates. Symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath , weight loss, chest pain, bloody sputum  usually appear when the disease is at an advanced stage.  

Is it possible to cure lung cancer?

Only 18 0f 100 lung cancer patients survive  at the end of 5 years period . This is mostly due to late diagnosis. At the time of diagnosis  most of the patients have either locally advanced (stage 3) or metastatic disease (stage 4) . On the other hand if you can detect the cancer at early stages and remove it by surgery; you can have a five year survival rate of up to 90%.

What does early diagnosis mean?

Early diagnosis is to detect the disease as small as possible, before  symptoms start and  before it spreads to other sites of the body .

Why is early detection of lung cancer not easy?

You can detect 1-2 cm lesions on your skin easily with a careful visual inspection, or you can check your breast with your hands  at your home. We can neither touch our lung tissue  nor inspect it visually.  

When the cancer tissue in the lung is very small , it may not cause complaints such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, coughing , bloody sputum and it may also not be seen on chest x-rays.

İn summary lung cancer  disease can remain hidden when it is small and curable.

Can lung cancer be found early?

In the recent years  success of screening in improving outcomes  in patients with cervical colon and breast cancers has been well documented.  İn 2011 the result  of a clinical study involving 53454 smokers without any complaints revealed that lung cancer screening with annual low dose ct scans  . lowered the mortality and increased the early  detection rates of lung cancer . In the view of this study and other studies ;lung cancer screening with  low dose computed tomography is recommended for the early diagnosis of lung cancer

Screening for lung cancer with low dose ct scans  is recommended  in high-risk populations:

Lung cancer risk is higher if your answers to questions below are yes

--Do you smoke regularly?  (Most important risk factor)

--Did you stop  smoking for less than 15 years ?

-- Do your parents have lung cancer?

-- Do you have COPD or pulmonary fibrosis?

--Did you suffer from cancer before?

-- Did you have chemotherapy or chest irradiation ?

--Have you been exposed to carcinogens targeting the lungs such as asbestos, arsenic, nickel etc ?

 We must also keep in mind that smoking cessation is a more proven and powerful intervention for preventing death from lung cancer

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