In the United States, there are approximately 40 million current smokers — that’s more than 13 percent of the total population. Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the country, contributing to 220,000 lung cancer diagnoses and 150,000 lung cancer deaths each year.
While lung cancer is one of the more prevalent diseases, it is one of the hardest to effectively treat — more people die of lung cancer than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer combined. This is due to the fact that symptoms only appear in the late stages of the disease, when it is often much harder to cure. Lung cancer is truly a silent killer.
Despite these alarming statistics, there are reasons to be hopeful. Quitting smoking is the absolute first step if you are a current smoker, but there’s even more that can be done to ensure a happy and healthy future.
As the medical field has advanced, we’ve learned that the number one way to increase the survival rate of lung cancer is to catch the disease in its early stages. This is why it’s important to be screened, even if you aren’t exhibiting any typical symptoms associated with lung cancer. The screening program at Jupiter Medical Center has increased to 40% the detection of early stage cancer in our lung cancer patients. This is leading to improved outcomes and survival.
If you are a current or former smoker, your smoking history is an excellent indicator of your risk of developing lung cancer. Some criteria for higher risk patients is:
- Being between 55 and 75 years old
- Smoked a pack a day for 20 years; or
- Two packs a day for 10 years
Beginning at the 30 pack-year history, Medicare will cover the screenings of these high risk patients, but that doesn’t mean these are the only people who should be screened. If you fit any of the above criteria, it is a good idea to consult your physician about what steps you should take and if a screening is right for you. For those who don’t qualify for the Medicare reimbursement, Jupiter Medical Center offers CT lung screening for $99.
Types of Testing
- Low dose CT scans
- PET scans
These scans and screenings enable us to see potential nodules in the chest that can indicate lung cancer long before any symptoms are present, allowing us to be proactive and tailored in our approach.
At Jupiter Medical Center we believe that combining the most advanced technology with the best clinical experience will provide the best outcomes. That’s why we’ve paired top notch equipment with the most knowledgeable and experienced physicians.
Lung Nodule Clinic
For those patients who have findings during a scan that might not be cancer, we recommend our Lung Nodule Clinic, comprised of the country’s leading interventional radiologists, pulmonologists, and oncologists — all the right people in the room at one time to ensure the correct diagnosis. In addition to the Lung Nodule Clinic, we combine our efforts during our weekly Tumor Board to provide our patients with the most cutting edge technology and clinical experience.
Improving survival is not only about early detection, but about speed. Our planning starts immediately, typically within 24 to 48 hours of detection, to put together the most comprehensive and tailored plan for each individual.
If you’re a current smoker, the number one way to improve your chances of avoiding lung cancer is to quit. Smoking cessation programs, like the one at Jupiter Medical Center, are excellent places to begin seeking help. These programs offer group support and a place to discuss the difficulties of quitting smoking — one of the hardest habits to break.
Lung cancer is the disease of tomorrow — it’s easy to ignore the risks when there are no immediate symptoms. However, there are things you can do today. To ensure a long and happy life with your loved ones, contact your physician to determine if a screening is right for you.
To schedule a CT lung screening at Jupiter Medical Center or to learn about our free, six-week smoking cessation classes, call 561-263-4437.