Jan 9, 2023

How early lung cancer screening can save lives

A quick and simple scan could make a life-saving difference for people with a higher risk of lung cancer

Lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers.   

Nearly 75% of lung cancer cases aren't diagnosed until stage III/IV, when survival rates are less than 22%. Yet when detected early and treated within one month, survival rates jump to 92%. That's why it's so important for people at a higher risk of lung cancer — even some who have never smoked — to get screened.

Screening is quick and easy. A low-dose CT scan takes 15 minutes or less and can be done in your doctor's office, pain-free.  

“You need to advocate for your own health," said Emily Elswick, former Vice President and General Manager of Lung Health and Visualization and now Vice President in the office of the CEO at Medtronic. "You can't be afraid to walk in that door and say, 'I was a former smoker,' or 'I currently smoke,' or 'I believe I'm at risk for lung cancer.' And have that discussion with your healthcare provider.”  

Annual lung cancer screening is recommended for those over age 50 who have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years and either still smoke or stopped smoking within the last 15 years. Even those with a history of exposure to smoking and other risk factors, such as radon exposure, may qualify.  

Lung cancer is the leading type of cancer affecting men — more than twice as common as prostate and colon cancers. It's also the leading type of cancer in women, accounting for 14% of all cancer deaths in women, compared to 22% in men.  

The Medtronic Lung Health business aims to improve lung cancer outcomes by diagnosing patients earlier and partnering with physicians to streamline care. Hear more from Emily Elswick and Dr. William Mayfield, the Medical Director at WellStar Health Systems, on the MedtronicTalks Podcast below.

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