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Importance of Lung Cancer Screening

Importance of Lung Cancer Screening
Are you at par with the following criteria?
  • You are between the ages of 50 and 80.
  • You currently smoke or have during the last 15 years.
  • You have a history of heavy smoking (approximately 1 pack of cigarettes every day for 20 years or maybe 2 packs per day for 10 years.
If yes, then you must schedule your lung cancer screening test without any delay.

Understanding the importance of Screening

Screening is the process by which a healthcare provider looks for a disease before symptoms appear. Healthcare providers screen for diseases that, when detected early, are easier to treat and potentially cure.

Lung cancer is an example of a disease that usually does not cause noticeable symptoms until it is advanced. Lung cancer may be curable if detected in its early stages.

What is Lung Cancer Screening?

Lung cancer screening is the process or the method of using tests to detect the disease early on before symptoms appear. To detect lung cancer, our doctor will use a low-dose computerized tomography (LDCT) scan of the lungs. Lung cancer is more likely to be cured if it is detected at an early stage.

Unlike other cancers, routine screening for lung cancer is not widespread. However, studies have shown that screening for lung cancer can improve survival rates.

Eligibility for lung cancer screening

The eligibility criteria for lung cancer screening often include the following:

  • Age: Most guidelines recommend lung cancer screening for individuals aged between 50 and 80, although this may vary depending on specific guidelines.
  • Smoking History: The most significant risk factor for lung cancer is a history of cigarette smoking. Generally, the lung cancer assessment procedure is also for people who have a significant smoking history, such as 30 pack-years or more.
  • Current or Former Smokers: Eligibility may extend to both current smokers and individuals who have quit smoking within a certain number of years (e.g., within the last 15 years).
  • Health Status: Individuals should be in relatively good health and able to tolerate potential treatment if lung cancer is detected.
  • Low-Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT): The screening method of choice for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). Eligible individuals would need to undergo this imaging test.

What are the tests for lung cancer?

The methods of lung cancer detection may involve the following diagnostic tests:

1. Imaging Tests:

  • Chest X-ray: A chest X-ray may divulge abnormalities in the lungs, such as masses or nodules. However, it’s less sensitive for detecting small or early-stage lung cancers.
  • CT Scan (Computed Tomography): A CT scan is more sensitive than a chest X-ray and can provide detailed images of the lungs. Low-dose CT (LDCT) is commonly used for lung cancer screening in high-risk individuals.
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): In some cases, an MRI may be used to evaluate lung tumours, particularly if further characterization of a lesion is needed.
  1. Sputum Cytology: This lung cancer screening test involves analyzing mucus (sputum) from the lungs to look for cancer cells. It’s most useful for detecting certain types of lung cancer.
  2. Bronchoscopy: During a bronchoscopy, a thin, flexible tube with a camera (bronchoscope) is inserted through the nose or mouth into the airways. This allows for a visual inspection of the airways and the collection of tissue samples (biopsy) if abnormalities are detected.
  3. Needle Biopsy: If a suspicious lung mass or nodule is identified on imaging, a needle biopsy may be performed to extract a tissue sample for examination. This can be done using fine-needle aspiration (FNA), core needle biopsy, or a bronchoscopy-guided biopsy.
  4. Thoracentesis: If there is fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion), a sample of the fluid can be removed through a procedure called thoracentesis and examined for cancer cells.
  5. Mediastinoscopy and Mediastinotomy: These procedures involve accessing lymph nodes in the mediastinum (area between the lungs) to determine if cancer has spread to these nodes.
  6. PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography): A PET scan can help identify areas of increased metabolic activity in the body, which can be indicative of cancer.
  7. Blood Tests: Blood tests, such as tumour marker tests, can be used to look for specific proteins or substances that may indicate the presence of lung cancer. However, these tests are not definitive for diagnosis and are often used in combination with other diagnostic methods.

Lung cancer treatment and prevention


  • Surgery: Surgical removal of the tumour or affected lung tissue is a common treatment for early-stage lung cancer.
  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy utilises high-energy beams to target and destroy cancer cells. It can be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy entails the usage of drugs to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It may be used before or after surgery or in advanced stages of lung cancer.
  • Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy drugs are formulated to specifically target cancer cells with specific genetic mutations. These treatments are often used in cases of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
  • Palliative Care: Palliative care aims at relieving symptoms and improving the quality of life for individuals with advanced lung cancer. It can be provided alongside curative treatments.
  • Clinical Trials: Participation in clinical trials may offer access to cutting-edge treatments and therapies for lung cancer.


  • Smoking Cessation: Majority of patients with lung cancer are smokers. Since smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer, quitting the same can significantly reduce the risk.
  • Avoiding Second-hand Smoke: Minimize exposure to second-hand smoke, as it can also increase the risk of lung cancer. Encourage smoke-free environments.
  • Diet and Exercise: Abiding by a healthy and balanced lifestyle and eating healthily, along with regular physical activity, is a must to avoid lung cancer. Some studies reveal that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can bring down the risk of lung cancer.

Last but not least, early and timely lung cancer screening is paramount.

Want to know more about Lung Cancer Screening? Consult our expert, Dr Taj Chowdhry

A lung cancer diagnosis often involves a combination of various tests and procedures to determine the type, stage, and extent of the disease.

Our thoracic surgeon, Dr Taj Chowdhry, insists on early diagnosis for effective treatment and improved outcomes in lung cancer patients. He works closely with the patients to determine the most appropriate diagnostic approach based on individual risk factors and symptoms.

Book your slot for lung cancer screening here!

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