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Cancer Screening For Pack-a-Day Smokers Is Little Known

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Cancer Screening For Pack-a-Day Smokers Is Little Known

(CTN News) – Almost one in four deaths in 2020 will be caused by lung cancer in the U.S.

Cancer’s prognosis is much better if it is caught early, but too few high-risk individuals are aware of and take advantage of available screenings, said Corwell Health pulmonologist Abdulrazak Alchakaki.

According to him, it isn’t as widely discussed as mammograms. I have had smokers come to my clinic and say, “I’ve never heard of (screening).”

Corewell Health East, formerly Beaumont Health, hopes to raise awareness and get more patients to sign up for screenings on Saturday, Nov. 12. Additional time slots will be available at Farmington Hills, Taylor, Wayne, Dearborn, Trenton, Macomb, and Livonia hospitals throughout the day.

Applicants must meet eligibility requirements set by the National Lung Screening Trial and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Among them are:

  • A person between the ages of 50 and 80 without any signs or symptoms of lung cancer;

  • A history of smoking a pack a day for at least 20 years;

  • Currently smoking cigarettes or having quit smoking within the last 15 years.

A physician must also order the screening, and patients must schedule an appointment by calling 800-328-8542.

Early detection is most valuable before a person exhibits any symptoms. If someone develops a progressive cough, coughs up blood, has night sweats, loses weight unintentionally, or recurs in the lungs, it is usually too late to cure them.

According to Alchakaki, screening saves lives. In every case, we’ve been able to stop it in its early stages and five years later, they’re doing fine. For them, it’s over.

The result is never as good as early detection and removal when we deal with advanced stages.”

As lung cancer progresses to late stages, radiation and chemotherapy are used to slow its growth rather than eliminate it.

Lung cancer affects approximately 200,000 Americans each year. In 2020, 136,084 Americans died of lung cancer. It’s more than twice as many deaths as the next leading killer (colorectal cancer), according to the CDC.

In 2020, Michigan ranked 13th for all types of  deaths per 100,000 people. About 5,000 Michiganders will die from lung and bronchus cancer in 2022, according to estimates.

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