Lung Cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in Vermont. One significant reason is lung cancer tends to only cause symptoms when it’s large and already extends to other parts of the body. As one can infer, there is little we can do to cure the disease when a patient is diagnosed late in the game. Although great strides have been made in the treatment of lung cancer and these treatments can extends one’s life, a cure is rare.
Therefore a lot of effort is focused on prevention and catching a lung cancer in its early stages. We have the option of surgery or a new treatment modality, stereotactic radiation, which offer excellent cure rates. but this can only be accomplished when the lung cancer is small and in its early stages.
Screening for Lung Cancer
One new exciting tool is a low dose CT scan of the chest as a screening exam. The CT is appropriate for patients who are between the ages of 55-74 and who have an equivalent of a 30 pack year smoking history. (This means smoking a pack a day for 30 years or even 2 packs a day for 15 years, for example.) It’s even important to consider if you have quit within 15 years because the risk of developing an early lung cancer is the same.
If you are concerned you are at risk for lung cancer, I strongly encourage a discussion with your physician. Below are two web sites which are excellent resources for additional information.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
― Benjamin Franklin