As with many types of serious illness, there are certain populations who face a higher risk of lung cancer. A combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors are believed to play a role in a person’s likelihood for developing this disease. For this reason, the following groups should discuss their individual risk profile with their doctors to determine if they should consider scheduling a lung screening.
Groups Who Should Consider a Lung Screening
1. Current or Former Smokers
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advises screenings for adults from the ages of 55 to 80 who have a 30-pack-year smoking history. A pack-year is calculated by multiplying the number of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years, so a 30-pack-year could be two packs per day for 15 years or one pack per day for 30 years. This includes both current smokers and past smokers.
2. Individuals With a Family History
A family history of lung cancer could predispose certain individuals to lung cancer. People with an immediate family member who had lung cancer and did not smoke could face a higher risk for developing the disease. It remains unclear how much genetics play a role in a person’s risk; however, so be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
3. People Who Have Had Lung Cancer
If you’ve had lung cancer before, the risk of developing another lung cancer is higher. Screenings will likely be a part of your remission care plan, so be sure to follow your doctor’s precise recommendations. When no abnormalities are detected, most doctors advise yearly intervals for screening frequencies.
4. Individuals Who Were Exposed to Certain Substances
Exposure to radon, asbestos, uranium, high levels of pollution, and other carcinogens could increase the risk of lung cancer over long periods of time. While many of these harmful toxins are no longer present in building materials, workplaces, or other environments where they can be inhaled regularly, they could present a risk factor for older populations.
5. Patients With Existing Lung Conditions
Other risk factors for lung cancer include chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). These progressive lung conditions include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and non-reversible asthma. Patients with COPD are at an increased risk for lung cancer, so screenings may be recommended for this group.
If you suspect you could be a good candidate for a lung screening based on these or other factors, Main Street Radiology in New York City will help. This facility has served the Queens community for more than 50 years and is committed to making patients feel at ease while they receive the highest standard of care. With four convenient locations throughout Bayside, Flushing, and Jackson Heights, they make imaging services hassle-free. Learn more about what to expect from the screening process online, or call (718) 428-1500 to schedule an appointment.