Excerpts from Living Well with Cancer podcast interview with Stephen Cattaneo, MD, thoracic surgeon at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Dr. Cattaneo discusses screening for lung cancer and Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Lung Cancer Screening Program. Listen to the entire interview here.
Who should be screened for lung cancer?
Those at the highest risk of lung cancer are the ones that we recommend be screened. What that means practically is folks between 55 and 80 who either are currently smoking or have stopped in the last 15 years. They also should have smoked at least 30 pack-years of cigarettes over their lifetime What that means is a pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, something like that to get to a multiple of 30 pack years.
Is it just a one-time thing to get screened for lung cancer?
No, that’s a great question. Absolutely not. In fact the important thing is not to just get the first screen but to keep getting subsequent lung cancer screenings once a year until you reach the age of 80 or until it’s been 15 years since you’ve stopped smoking. The goal of screening is to find lung cancers early, at a time when they’re treatable and we’ve learned that more cancers aren’t found on that initial scan but they’re actually found on later scans which is why it’s important to continue to follow-up and to have scans every year.