Lung Cancer Screening at Berkshire Health Systems Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and worldwide. Eighty-seven percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. If lung cancer is detected early, in Stage I, patients have an 88% survival rate at 10 years post diagnosis. Unfortunately, more than 85% of lung cancer cases are detected in a later stage.
Why is screening done for lung cancer? Lung cancer is often not detected until it is advanced and a cure is not possible. The only way to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages is through low-dose CT scanning. Clinical trials consistently have shown the likelihood of surviving cancer is greatly improved with screening.
Who should get screened? The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends that individuals without symptoms of lung cancer be assessed for risk based on the following factors: Age Smoking history Radon exposure Occupational exposure Cancer history Family history of lung cancer Lung disease history Second-hand smoke exposure
Screening with low dose CT scans is recommended for patients at high risk, defined as: Category 1 Age 55 to 74, with 30 or more pack-year history of smoking tobacco. If patients have quie, they must have stopped within the last 15 years. Pack years equals packs per day times years smoked.
Category 2 Age 50 to 74 and 20 or more pack-year history of smoking and oe additional risk factor other than second-hand smoke, including lung cancer history in first-degree relatives, occupational exposure to lung carcinogens, personal history of COPD or pulmonary fibrosis, radon exposure, or personal history of smoking-related cancer.