The Important Cancer Screening Test You Need to Know About

No smoking

We recently asked viewers, both online and in our studio audience, which cancer they think kills the most women. Here is what everyone thought:

  • Breast cancer – 33%
  • Ovarian cancer – 23%
  • Lung cancer – 21%
  • Cervical cancer -15%
  • Colon cancer – 7%
  • Endometrial cancer – 1%

The correct answer is actually lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both women and men in the United States and around the world. Here in America, lung cancer claims over 155,000 lives every year. We all know the habit that boosts your risk the most, which hopefully you’re not doing, but what most people don’t know is that there is now a screening test for lung cancer that can literally save your life. In fact, the results of a new survey from the American Lung Association found that 84 percent of people at a high risk for lung cancer didn’t even know there was a screening test. Well, that changes today.

It’s called a low dose CT Scan and it can take pictures of the lungs to find cancer at the earliest stages. This is important because we have many new exciting treatments for lung cancer today and doctors are more optimistic than ever about a patient’s chances, especially with an early diagnosis. Survival rates are five times higher when lung cancer is detected early, but, unfortunately, most cases are not diagnosed until later stages.

To get the word out, the American Lung Association has teamed up with the Ad Council to start a new campaign called Saved By the Scan to make sure everyone at high risk gets screened. They have a quick and easy quiz you can take to see if you or someone you love should get the test. Basically, the people who should get it are:

Anyone age 55-80 who is a current smoker or who quit smoking in the last 15 years and smoked the equivalent of 30 “pack years” (one pack a day for 30 years).

Now that we’re on the topic, let’s talk about smoking for a minute. Anyone can get lung cancer, but about 90 percent of cases are associated with smoking, which increases the risk of lung cancer by 25 times! It also boosts your risk of stroke, heart disease, and many other cancers. Just because you’ve smoked doesn’t mean it’s too late. Quitting can significantly reduce your cancer risk. Ten years after quitting, the risk of lung cancer is actually cut in half. So if you smoke, it’s never too late to quit. And whether you quit recently or a long time ago, you still may need the scan, so take the quiz to find out.

And since the scan is actually recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the government panel of doctors that recommends screening tests, your insurance should cover it for free! So if you’ve ever smoked, take the quiz to see if you should get the test. And to find out more, check out the Saved By The Scan website.