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The Importance of Lung Cancer Screenings

May 14, 2024
Physician sitting behind desk showing patient results of lung cancer screening

Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in both men and women, only second to prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. More importantly, lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. About one in five of all cancer deaths stem from lung cancer each year. More people die from lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

With such alarming statistics, early detection is critical and can save lives. Here, Richmond University Medical Center provides information on the importance of lung cancer screenings and what to expect from our team of medical professionals in Staten Island.

What Is a Lung Cancer Screening?

A lung cancer screening is a non-invasive exam that aims to identify lung cancer in patients who are at high risk but are showing no symptoms. The only recommended screening test for lung cancer is a low-dose Computed Tomography (CT) scan, which produces cross-section images of the lungs.

Using X-ray technology, medical technicians can scan a patient’s entire chest in about 15 minutes. Patients are asked to hold their breath for five to ten seconds as each subsequent image is captured. The images taken help the lung cancer screening team determine the state of the patient’s lungs.

Why Lung Cancer Screenings Matter

The purpose of any cancer screening is to detect the disease while it is still in its earliest stages— when it is more likely to be cured. If lung cancer progresses and patients begin to develop signs and symptoms, curative treatments are usually no longer an option as the cancer has become too advanced.

When found early enough, 90% of lung cancers are curable. Evidence shows screenings help reduce the fatality rate of lung cancer. Undergoing annual lung screenings is pivotal in detecting lung cancer early enough to provide patients with the best possible outcomes.

Who Should Be Screened for Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer screenings are typically reserved for people with the highest risk of developing lung cancer, which can include:

  • Adults between the ages of 55 and 80 who smoke or quit within the last 15 years
  • People who have a 20-pack-year, or more, smoking history (calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked a day and the number of years smoked)
  • Anyone with a history of lung cancer
  • People with other risk factors of lung cancer, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or exposed to asbestos

Treatment Options at Richmond University Medical Center

If the screening does not reveal any potential threats, patients are encouraged to undergo the lung cancer screening again the next year as part of their annual health check-up at Richmond University Medical Center. Should any abnormalities be discovered, patients are referred to the Oncology Department, where they will receive personalized care and a variety of up-to-date treatment options

Patients may be offered the following services and support:

  • Electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy (ENB):GPS is utilized during this state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedure to locate and biopsy lesions without an incision.
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS): This is a minimally invasive procedure that captures a detailed image of the patient’s airways to further investigate the condition of their lungs
  • Videoscopes:This is intended to aid surgeons in making smaller incisions when performing lung cancer surgeries.

Depending on various factors, patients receiving care from our compassionate medical team will be offered both nonsurgical and surgical treatments for lung cancer. Treatments may include:

If physicians believe surgery is necessary, patients can receive follow-up pulmonary rehabilitation services at Richmond University Medical Center to improve their lung health. Additionally, specialists can offer exercise programs for strengthening, thorough medical evaluations, heart monitoring, and nutrition education.

Support to Quit Smoking

It is never too late to quit smoking. Richmond University Medical Center encourages patients to quit the habit and offers support through a Nicotine Education and Treatment Program. During a six-week group session, patients will receive professional counseling that is convenient and effective, as well as consultation on new medications and other strategies to help quit smoking.

Schedule a Lung Cancer Screening in Staten Island

Lung cancer screenings are crucial for detecting the cancer early before it advances. Screenings are critical because they can potentially reduce mortality rates and improve patient outcomes, particularly in high-risk individuals.

Patients in Staten Island with concerns about lung cancer are encouraged to consult with experienced practitioners at Richmond University Medical Center. Contact us today for more information regarding screenings and early detection, or to schedule an appointment.