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Q+A with a Pulmonologist: Why lung cancer screenings are so important

Learn about lung cancer and how a simple lung cancer screening can save your life.

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Talk with your doctor about getting a screening, which is especially important for lung cancer since it tends to be fast-spreading + shows almost no symptoms.

Photo provided by Roper St. Francis Healthcare

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While lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US, when caught early, treatment can be straightforward and effective. That is why a simple low-dose CT screening is so important – it can save lives.

In honor of National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, we asked Michael Spandorfer, MD, Pulmonologist and Critical Care Specialist with Roper St. Francis Healthcare, our top questions about lung cancer + screenings:

Q: Who is at risk for lung cancer?

A: Smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes puts people at risk for developing lung cancer. You are considered high risk if you’re between 50-80, have a “20 pack-year” history, and currently smoke or quit in the last 15 years. Other risk factors include family or pulmonary disease history, second-hand smoke, and radon or occupational exposure.

Q: Should I get a lung cancer screening even if I have no symptoms?

A: Yes, if you’re in a high-risk category, you should be screened using a low-dose CT scan, even if you have no symptoms. Screening is so important because there are generally no symptoms of early lung cancer disease — and early detection is key, since the earlier we find lung nodules or lumps, the more easily and effectively they can be treated.

Want to know about screening frequency, new robotic technology, what to do if a lump is found, and more? See the full Q+A.*