Lung cancer screenings

Williamson, W. Va., – The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual screening for lung cancer in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have smoked at least one pack a day for 30 years or more, currently smoke or have quit smoking within the past 15 years.

Lung cancer is one of the most fatal types of cancer in the United States. However, some forms of this disease can be cured if caught early. Williamson Memorial Hospital urges adults who are at risk for developing lung cancer to receive annual screenings. Screenings are conducted using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). This scan uses a low amount of radiation to create an image of the lungs. Physicians then review the image for abnormal areas that could be cancer.

“Typically symptoms of lung cancer do not occur until it is in a non-curable stage. Those who do show signs of having the disease sometimes mistake them for other things,” said Dr. Muneel Abbas, M.D., a Family Care physician. “Annual LDCT scan are vital to early detection of lung cancer.”

Symptoms of lung cancer include persistent coughing, chest pain, hoarseness, weight loss, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite and repeated cases of bronchitis and pneumonia.

The USPSTF suggests annual screenings should end when a person has not smoked in over 15 years or has developed a serious health issue that limits life expectancy or the ability to undergo curative lung surgery.

Patients aged 55-75, who have a smoking history, show no symptoms of lung cancer, and have received a written order from a physician may qualify to have their LDCT screenings covered by Medicare.

To find a physician, call 304-899-6101.

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