Sponsored by Prevent Cancer Foundation
Did you know that even if you’ve quit smoking in the past 15 years, you’re still at increased risk for lung cancer? In fact, new guidelines expanded the number of people who have access to lung cancer screening and can help you make better informed decisions.
It can be a bit confusing trying to navigate the criteria, but it primarily comes down to these factors:
- number of “pack-years” smoked
- how recently you quit (or if you still smoke)
I quit about 20 years ago. My mom was a smoker for most of my childhood and so were many others in my family. It seemed like the thing to do.
In my early twenties, I picked up the habit, knowing that it would compromise my lungs, already weakened by severe asthma.
I made the decision to quit when I became more involved in my children’s lives and didn’t want to introduce the harsh chemical substances to them through secondhand smoke.
My wife had just lost both her grandmother (a long-time smoker) and her aunt (non-smoker) to lung cancer within 7 months of each other. Her mom was fighting Lymphoma.
Smoking around my family, and willingly putting them at risk for lung cancer was not something I wanted to do. So I quit.
Now, thanks to new U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines, I will soon be eligible for lung cancer screening.
With the new guidelines, people ages 50-80 with a 20 pack-year history who currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years are eligible for screening
This now gives about 15 million people access to lung cancer screening.
Plus, if you’re eligible, your screening should be covered by insurance! This can often be a barrier to getting screened, but it doesn’t have to be anymore.
By the way, screening should be annual until you are out of the recommended age range or your health care provider recommends you stop.
Getting in for screening as soon as you can could be lifesaving! We’ve all heard it time and time again: Early detection literally SAVES LIVES! Screening high-risk individuals can reduce lung cancer mortality by at least 20%?
Not to mention, lung cancer symptoms, such as worsening or persistent cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up blood, fatigue, and weight loss, can be mistaken for other conditions, which can delay diagnosis.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women, accounting for nearly 25% of all cancer deaths.
Don’t delay your screening!
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and it’s the perfect time to get your lung cancer screening Back on the Books!