Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Symptoms of lung cancer may include unexplained cough (especially with blood), unexplained chest pain and unexplained weight loss. However, these can also be symptoms of other illnesses. Unfortunately, symptoms of lung cancer usually do not appear until the disease is already in an advanced, noncurable stage.
One of the main ways to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking or never start. Also, be sure to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke and other known carcinogens. Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in this country and the leading cause among nonsmokers. If you smoke, you should think of lung cancer screenings as part of your yearly preventive health maintenance.
Smoking cessation plays an important role in a care management plan for lung cancer or lung disease. Cone Health provides free programs to help participants quit smoking.
Low dose CT screening is the only proven, research-supported method of detecting lung cancer at an early and treatable stage, which is why Cone Health has developed a lung cancer screening program for patients in the community. Since the screening program has been available, Cone Health has found more cases of stage I lung cancer than ever before, even in patients without symptoms. Individuals who are eligible for the program must:
- Be between the ages of 55 to 77.
- Smoke or have quit smoking within the last 15 years.
- Have a 30-pack-a-year history of smoking (one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years).
Even if you have smoked all of your life, you still deserve to get the care you need to maintain your quality of life. Talk to your physician about the lung cancer screening program to see if it’s right for you. Cone Health Cancer Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating lung cancer by assembling their team of surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists and other related health care professionals to meet each week to develop treatment plans for each lung cancer patient. To learn more about the screening program, call 336-547-1801 in Greensboro or 336-586-3492 in Burlington.
Screening centers are located in Greensboro, High Point, Kernersville, Reidsville and Burlington.
Sarah Groce is an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner and Cone Health’s lung cancer screening nurse navigator. She received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985. Groce completed a Master of Science in nursing and adult gerontology acute care from the University of South Carolina in 2015.