By LEENA KAMAT, MD
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and worldwide, among both men and women. Lung cancer claims more lives each year than do colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers combined.
Cigarette smoking is the principal risk factor for the development of lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer increases with the length of time and number of cigarettes one has smoked. Smoking cessation is the most important measure that can prevent the development of lung cancer. However, lung cancer can also occur in those who have never smoked too.
Symptoms of lung cancer can include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and bloody mucus. Treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.
There are three main types of lung cancer; the type can affect treatment options and prognosis. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer as it accounts for 85 percent of cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma are all subtypes of NSCLC. Small cell lung cancer also known as oat cell cancer accounts for 10-15 percent of lung cancers. This type of lung cancer tends to spread quickly. Lastly, fewer than 5 percent of lung cancers are lung carcinoid tumors. They are also sometimes called lung neuroendocrine tumors and most of these tumors grow slowly and rarely spread.
Radiology with the use of imaging including but not limited to radiographs, CT, and PET/CT scans play a part in the detection and management of lung cancer. Not only is imaging used in staging of cancer once it has been diagnosed but also more recently is being used for the purposes of screening.
Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT (LDCT) is an imaging strategy that is being adopted for high-risk patients. Since lung cancer is the common cause of cancer death worldwide, there is evidence that a mortality benefit exists with the screening of carefully selected patients. Furthermore, a Lung-RADS screening classification exists for the purpose of standardizing follow up and management.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a recommendation in favor of annual screening for lung cancer with LDCT in persons at high risk for lung cancer based on age and smoking history. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final national coverage determination that provides Medicare coverage of screening for lung cancer with LDCT. Medicare will now cover lung cancer screening with LDCT once per year for Medicare beneficiaries who meet all of the following criteria: age 55-77 and are either current smokers or have quit smoking within the last 15 years, have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 "pack years" (an average of one pack a day for 30 years), and do not have signs or symptoms of lung cancer.
The advantages and benefits of lung cancer screening with LDCT include: diagnosing lung cancer at its earliest most treatable stage; CT scanning is fast, painless and noninvasive; low-dose CT scans of the chest produce sufficient image quality to detect many abnormalities using less ionizing radiation than a conventional chest CT scan; lastly, lung cancer screening with LDCT has been proven to reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer in patients at high risk.
The radiologists from Radiology Specialists of Florida at Florida Hospital/AdventHealth are very well trained and experienced. We have radiologists specifically trained in thoracic imaging who use imaging techniques to screen and stage lung cancer. We keep up to date on the latest technology and information so that we can offer patients the best care.
The Florida Hospital Care Network delivers seamlessly connected healthcare services for all ages. Quality Imaging and Diagnostic starts today. For more information visit Somedaystartstoday.com
Leena Kamat, MD, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist, sub-specialized in breast imaging for Radiology Specialists of Florida at Florida Hospital. She earned her medical degree at the University of Florida, College of Medicine and following graduation completed her residency at the University of South Florida and a fellowship in breast imaging at the Moffitt Cancer Center.