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Screening for lung cancer

Who should be checked?

What do singer Nat King Cole, animator and businessman Walt Disney, newscaster Peter Jennings, Beatles rock star George Harrison and Olympic Gold Medal winner Jesse Owens have in common? They all died of smoking-related lung cancer. About 80 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses are directly attributable to smoking.


The American Cancer Society estimated that 226,160 new cases of lung cancer would be diagnosed, and 160,340 deaths were expected in the United States last year. This is almost three times the number of American GIs who died during the Vietnam War from 1955 to 1975.


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Improving survival and treatment


As a result of important findings from the National Cancer Institute’s National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), the American Cancer Society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network now recommend screening with low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) instead of chest X-rays for patients who are at high risk for lung cancer. Locally, Baptist Beaumont Hospital is leading the way with its new Low-Dose CT Screening Program for high-risk patients.


Following NLST screening guidelines, patients who are eligible for Baptist Hospital’s program include those who are:


  • between the ages of 55 to 74, with no symptoms of lung cancer
  • active smokers with a history of smoking at least 30 pack years
  • former smokers who have quit within the past 15 years

“As with many cancers, the earlier lung cancer is detected, the better the chances of survival,” says Rufus Mark, MD, a Radiation Oncologist with South Texas Radiation Therapy Associates. Historically, early stage lung cancer was best treated by surgery. Recent advances in high-dose radiation treatment systems have led to five-year survival rates comparable to surgery. The advantages are a less invasive procedure and fewer complications. Baptist Beaumont Hospital offers both surgery and high-dose radiation treatment for patients with lung cancer.


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Get the care you need!


Speak with your physician to find out if you are eligible for screening with a low-dose CT scan. To schedule a screening, call (409) 212-7167.


Risk factors


Cigarette smoking is by far the most important risk factor for lung cancer. The risk decreases when smokers quit, eventually approaching the risk of those who never smoked. Other causes of lung cancer include exposure to secondhand smoke, radon gas, asbestos, nickel and chromium. There also appears to be a genetic link in those who have a family history of lung cancer.



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