Most lung cancers are discovered too late.
Current methods for detecting lung cancer include chest x-ray, PET or CT scan, sputum cytology, biomarker testing, and a lung tissue biopsy. Some tools are used in combination for a more accurate assessment of the disease. Please talk to your physician regarding each method.
USPSTF Recommends CT Scans
In 2010, the National Lung Screening Trial published the results after looking at over 53,454 high-risk patients, who were randomized and divided into CT and X-ray groups to look at the efficacy in detecting lung cancer. The conclusion was that CT saves 20% more lives than X-rays. This study led to a recommendation from the USPSTF to use Low Dose CT as a screening method for high risk patients which led to a coverage and implementation by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. To learn more about the study results, click on: Reduced Lung-Cancer Mortality with Low-Dose Computed Tomographic Screening by the NLST Research Team.
Medicare/Medicaid Covers CT Scans
In 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) agreed to cover an annual lung cancer screening using Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) if the patient meets the following criteria:
- they are age 55-77, and are either current smokers or have quit smoking within the last 15 years;
- they have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” (an average of one pack a day for 30 years); and
- they receive a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner that meets certain requirements
Your chances of a cure is high if lung cancer is surgically removed at Stage I.
Lung Cancer Treatment
The treatment for lung cancer depends on the type, stage, and metastasis of the lung cancer. Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) may be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination; whereas patients with Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) would be treated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.