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If lung cancer is identified early enough, survival is possible

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Mortality rate for lung cancer is extremely high, because the disease doesn’t generally present any symptoms. Usually, by the time the disease has been identified, it is already in its aggressive stage.
  • Up to 90% of lung cancer cases identified during the early stages can be cured.
  • Low-dose computed tomography screening can reduce lung cancer mortality rates by up to 20%.

 

If lung cancer is identified early enough, survival is possible

Lung cancer is a form of cancer which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. The scariest thing about this type of cancer is that there are no early warning signs. By the time it has been diagnosed, the cancer has usually already entered its aggressive stage, at which point mortality rate is very high. However, if the cancer is found during the early stages, the chance of survival can be as high as 90%, if treated correctly.

Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. Smokers are therefore targeted for screening, as they are most at risk. However, here are many groups who are also at risk of lung cancer, such as passive smokers or people who live or work in areas with high levels of asbestos, radioactive substances, industrial or vehicle pollutants, as well as people with a family history of lung or any other cancer.

Screening for lung cancer in its early stages can be carried out through low-dose computed tomography. This method is currently preferred due to its speed and accuracy in identifying cancerous lumps, however small they may be, and even when they may be obstructed by other organs. This means that a reduction in mortality rates is possible when compared to those who avoid undergoing regular lung X-ray cancer screening. When the cancer is identified, doctors can immediately proceed with treatment to ensure that the cancer is eradicated at this early stage.

Who should undergo screening for lung cancer?

  • Those who have had a cough without any other illness for more than one month
  • Those with anxiety about developing lung cancer
  • Smokers or those who have smoked in the past and are over the age of 40 years
  • Those who live with a family member or someone who smokes
  • Those who work and / or live in an area that has high levels of asbestos, radioactive substances, industrial or vehicle pollutants
  • Those with a family history of lung cancer or any other form of cancer

For anyone falling into a categories mentioned above, a doctor’s appointment should be made to receive advice on the appropriate next step, ensuring that lung cancer is not allowed to take your life or the life of someone you love.

Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29425790
Adv Med Sci. 2018 Feb 6;63(2):230-236. doi: 10.1016/j.advms.2017.12.002.
Low-dose computed tomography screening reduces lung cancer mortality.


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