KATY, TEXAS (November 22, 2016)

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), more people die every year from lung cancer than of breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and physicians affiliated with Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital are encouraging people to be screened for lung cancer.

Current and former smokers are at a higher risk for having lung cancer. Unfortunately, those who grew up around smokers are also at a higher risk for developing lung cancer. As with all cancers, early detection is key to fighting the disease successfully,” says Qi-Ming Zhu, D.O., a pulmonary and critical care specialist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Katy.

The ACS recommends the following guidelines for lung cancer screening:

  • 55 to 77 years old
  • Have at least a 30 pack-a-year smoking history
  • Are still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
  • Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer

“People often ask why the screening is done on people with no signs of lung cancer. Often, issues like coughing, wheezing, and chest pain will prompt a person to have the condition evaluated by a physician, who may recommend other tests. For those without symptoms, a low-dose CT scan is a good way to detect lung cancer before they start showing symptoms,” added Dr. Zhu.

A low-dose CT (LDCT) scan provides more detailed pictures than a chest x-ray and uses a lower amount of radiation than a standard chest CT. It does not require the use of intravenous contrast dye.

“People should also be aware that a low-dose CT scan may also find other abnormalities in the body that may need to be checked out, but may not be cancer. Do your research and make sure the facility and physicians have experience in lung cancer screening and that they follow the recommendations from the American Cancer Society,” says Dr. Zhu.

Several Memorial Hermann facilities, including Memorial Hermann Katy, offer low-dose CT scans for patients who fit the necessary criteria and have an order from a referring physician. You can learn more about the screening here.