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Lung Cancer Screening :

Lung cancer, also known as carcinoma of the lung or pulmonary carcinoma, is a malignant lung tumor characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung.

If Lung Cancer left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung by process of metastasis into nearby tissue or other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in the lung, known as primary lung cancers, are carcinomas that derive from epithelial cells. The main primary types are small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC).

Signs and symptoms :

  • respiratory symptoms : coughing, coughing up blood, wheezing or shortness of breath.
  • systemic symptoms : weight loss, fever, clubbing of the fingernails, or fatigue.
  • symptoms due to the cancer mass pressing on adjacent structures : chest pain, bone pain, superior vena cava obstruction, difficulty swallowing.

Lung cancer screening refers to cancer screening strategies used to identify early lung cancers before they cause symptoms, at a point where they are more likely to be curable. Screening studies for lung cancer have only been done in high risk populations, such as smokers and workers with occupational exposure to certain substances.

The tests used for Lung cancer screening is :

1. Low-Dose Computed Tomography ( CT scan, LDCT) :

  • In this test, an X-ray machine scans the body and uses low doses of radiation to make detailed pictures of the lungs Test .

2. Chest x-ray :

  • Many healthcare providers recommend an annual chest x-ray for patients who smoke.
  • In a large study comparing chest x-ray to CT for lung cancer screening, only CT showed reduced risk of death.
  • Current guidelines recommend against screening at-risk subjects by chest x-ray.

3. Sputum Tests :

  • Analyzing a patient's sputum for evidence of cancer cells in order to detect lung cancer.
  • So far, no clear benefit to this approach has been found. Additional studies that use new technologies to examine the sputum are underway.

4. PET scan :

  • Positron Emission Tomography (or PET scanning, which uses a small amount of radioactivity to provide a detailed picture of an organ's function) has been used in combination with CT scanning (PET/CT).
  • It involves a higher dose of radiation than CT alone and benefit has not been shown for screening purposes.

5. Other studies :

  • Direct visualization of the lungs with bronchoscopy and breath analysis for cancer markers are two tests.