If you have already quit smoking, congratulations! You have taken one of the most important steps you can to protect your health. Whether you have quit smoking or continue to smoke, you’ve probably wondered about the health of your lungs.
November’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month observance makes this the perfect time for you to take action that could save your life. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer related death in men AND women. For decades, we had no way to detect lung cancer early, but not anymore. I urge you to speak to your physician about lung cancer screening and resources to help quit smoking. Mercy Health – Springfield offers lung cancer screening at locations in Springfield and Urbana.
A lung cancer screening is a low-dose CT scan of your lungs. This means you receive less radiation than a regular CT scan. If you’re between the ages of 55-77 years old and have smoked a pack a day (or more) for 30 years and either continue to smoke or have quit in the past 15 years, you are the perfect candidate for a yearly lung cancer screening. Most insurance companies cover this screening for patients at increased risk for lung cancer.
While you may feel fine, it’s important to remember that lung cancer often has no symptoms or symptoms that many other illnesses share, such as coughing, bloody spit, shortness of breath, wheezing, hoarseness, chest pain and fatigue. This is why we often catch lung cancer at late stages. Screening changes that. We now have a chance to find lung cancer early, when we have a better chance of beating it.
While receiving a lung cancer diagnosis is frightening, there is hope. The number of annual lung cancer-related deaths in America are finally declining. This is due to a combination of quit smoking programs, screening and advancing treatment options, such as robotic surgery.
The robotic surgery program Mercy Health – Springfield is now celebrating its ten-year anniversary. Mercy Health was the first in the region to offer this minimally-invasive option. Most patients are now able to go home within a couple days of potentially curative surgery. For those who cannot get surgery, there are also advanced targeted chemotherapy treatments and refined radiation therapies available.
In the US alone this year, doctors will diagnose more than 230,000 new cases of lung cancer. Nearly 155,000 people will die from the disease in 2018 – more than from breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. You don’t have to be a statistic. Talk with your doctor about scheduling your lung cancer screening today. Like with many cancers, early detection of lung cancer can save your life.
For more information on lung cancer screenings, please call 937-323-3009.
Soumya Neravetla, M.D., is a cardiothoracic surgeon who practices from Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center.