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Why Lung Screening is Important


Lung cancer is one of the most diagnosed cancers, and the leading cause of cancer death in British Columbia. Smoking remains the most significant cause of lung cancer, leading to more than 70% of lung cancer deaths in men, and 55% of lung cancer deaths in women.

Normally, lung cancer symptoms don’t appear until the disease is already at an advanced stage, and has spread. Therefore, it's important to screen when you are not experiencing any symptoms. 

Screening works by finding cancer early, when there are more treatment options and a better chance of success. The best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to not smoke and to get screened.

Your questions

Further testing may cause anxiety: Your lung scan may suggest that you have lung cancer when no cancer is present (false-positive). A false-positive result leads to more follow-ups, sometimes surgery, before it is found that you don’t have cancer. This can cause increased stress and anxiety during this time. 

No screening test is perfect: Your lung scan might also find cases of cancer that are very slow growing and are not expected to cause any problems during your lifetime. This is called overdiagnosis and can lead to treatment that may not benefit you. However, when diagnosed, there is no way for health care professionals to tell if the cancer will cause any problems without doing more tests. 

Possible concerns and impacts of screening: Your lung scan will expose you to a very small amount of radiation, but, the chances of you getting cancer through repeated exposure is very low. A low-dose CT scan uses 5 times less radiation than a regular CT scan and is similar to what you would receive from the natural background (radiation from the sky and ground) over six months.

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​Who should screen?
Screening is best for people at high risk for lung cancer with no symptoms.

Find out if it is right for you
SOURCE: Why Lung Screening is Important ( )
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