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For Your Health: Lung Cancer Screening Can Save Lives

Among scary diseases, lung cancer can be one of the scariest. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the nation, including in Missouri and Illinois. And for smokers and many ex-smokers who are at increased risk of lung cancer, it can feel especially scary.

But there is some good news for those at high risk for the disease. Since 2013, a screening test has been available for certain heavy smokers and ex-smokers that can help catch lung cancer at earlier stages when it’s more treatable. The test is covered by Medicare and most other health insurance plans, and it’s been shown to lower the risk of dying of lung cancer by 16 percent and to lower the risk of dying of any cause by about 7 percent.

While these numbers may not sound that impressive, it’s been estimated that if everyone in the U.S. who was eligible for lung cancer screening were actually screened, it could prevent about 10,000 deaths each year, a number on par with those lost to drunk driving.

Learn more about lung cancer screening from the Siteman Cancer Center's For Your Health Column here.

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