Your doctor may recommend a lung cancer screening or diagnostic test, but that doesn’t mean he or she thinks you have cancer. If you are at risk for developing lung cancer or have certain symptoms, there are screening tests that can detect cancer early. Getting tests, like chest x-rays or chest CTs, have helped detect cancer and decrease the risk for getting lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Risk Factors
There are many factors that could increase your chance of developing lung cancer, some you can control and some you cannot. It may be beneficial to be screened if you:
- Smoked or were exposed to smoke. The number of cigarettes smoked and the years you’ve been smoking significantly increases the chance of cancer. Quitting at any age can lower this risk. Exposure to secondhand smoke can also increase your risk of lung cancer.
- Were exposed to radon gas, asbestos, or other carcinogens. Exposure to these substances can be unsafe when exposed to high levels, and they have been known to cause cancer.
- Have a family history of cancer. If you have a family member who had lung cancer, you have an increased risk of getting the disease.
Lung Cancer Signs
You may need a chest x-ray or chest CT if you are experiencing symptoms that may be a sign of lung cancer. Talk with your doctor if you have the following symptoms to see what tests are recommended:
- A chronic cough
- Coughing up blood or dark phlegm
- Chest pain that could be worse when breathing deeply, coughing, or laughing
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Recurrent lung infections like bronchitis or pneumonia
Lung Cancer Screenings Near Tacoma WA
If one or more risk factors or symptoms apply to you, talk with a radiologist at Northwest Medical Specialities about scheduling a lung cancer screening.
Sources: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/lungcancer-smallcell/detailedguide/small-cell-lung-cancer-signs-symptoms http://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/lung-screening-pdq#section/_38