Can you get an early diagnosis for lung cancer?

If diagnosed early, lung cancer is more treatable . But, since lung cancer symptoms rarely show up until the disease is advanced, it is important to know if you should be tested.

3 Criteria You Should Consider

If you have any of these risk factors, you should see your doctor to determine if you need further screening for lung cancer. It is especially important to discuss any needs for testing if you meet the following 3 criteria:

1. Risk Factor: Age

If you are between the ages of 55 and 77 


2. Risk Factor: Signs and Symptoms

You don’t show any signs or symptoms of lung cancer currently 


3. Risk Factor: Smoking Habits

You currently smoke or quit smoking within the last 15 years and you have or had a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” — an average of one pack a day for 30 years.

Lung Cancer Screening: Next Steps and Research

If you meet these 3 criteria, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual computed tomography (CT) screening. This non-invasive diagnostic test is covered by Medicare and most insurance companies.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you meet the criteria for an annual CT screening or have symptoms that worry you. Above all, learn more about lung cancer and stay up-to-date on new research.

More Research into Early Detection Needed

These recommendations are a step in the right direction because of the importance of early detection, however much more research into early detection of lung cancer is needed.

More than half of new lung cancer patients have never smoked or quit more than 15 years ago, and as such are not included in the CT screening recommendations discussed above. We need more early detection methods for all possible lung cancer patients.

The good news is, this is where lung cancer research is helping. 

Learn more

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