Lung Cancer Screening
Getting screened for lung cancer can help detect cancer at an early stage. Without screening, by the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have already begun to spread. This process often involves the use of chest x-rays or a procedure known as sputum cytology. There are risks associated with screening, so it's important to weigh the potential benefits against these possible risks.
Lung cancer screening is the process in which doctors search for the disease before a person exhibits symptoms. This can help doctors detect lung cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. Without screening for lung cancer, by the time symptoms appear, lung cancer may have begun to spread.
Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to get certain types of lung cancer. They also study the things we do and the things around us to see if they cause lung cancer. This information helps doctors recommend who should get screened for lung cancer, which screening tests should be used, and how often the tests should be conducted.
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a lung cancer screening test. Lung cancer screening tests are performed when you have no symptoms of lung cancer.
Some lung cancer screening tests are used because they have been shown to be helpful both in finding cancers early and decreasing the chance of dying from these cancers. Other tests are used because they have been shown to find cancer in some people; however, it has not been proven in clinical trials that use of these tests will decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer.
If a test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have lung cancer. These are called diagnostic tests (see Lung Cancer Diagnosis).