Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Fifty-seven percent of lung cancer patients are diagnosed at a late stage of the disease because, until recently, there haven’t been effective screening methods for lung cancer. Since Cone Health started using CT scans to screen for lung cancer, fifty percent of the patients we screened and found cancer in have been diagnosed with stage IA, a very treatable stage.
Currently, low dose CT scans are being used to detect nodules in the lungs in earlier stages of the disease. The overall five-year survival rate with a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis is only four percent; however, if diagnosed in stage one, the five-year survival rate increases to 71-90 percent. Although about 7% of cases at Cone Health are still being detected in late stage, but using the low dose CT scan has significantly improved lung cancer survival rates.
If lung cancer is detected early, patients may be candidates for minimally invasive treatments, and can possibly avoid the need for chemotherapy. Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer, as well as diabetes, heart failure, other forms of cancer and several other serious medical problems. Just because you smoke, doesn’t mean you have to die. Therefore, if you smoke, quit now and talk to your doctor to see if screening is right for you. Those who smoke or have a history of smoking should discuss methods of quitting and ensuring overall health and wellbeing with their doctor.
Dr. Dan Entrikin is a diagnostic radiologist in the triad and a member of the Cone Health Medical staff. Dr. Entrikin received his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and completed medical school at the University of California at San Diego. He completed his residency in diagnostic radiology and completed a fellowship at Wake Forest University.