A Lung Scan Can Be a Lifesaver

November 19, 2021

A Lung Scan Can Be a Lifesaver

Jacob G. Davtyan, MD, FACS
Cardiothoracic Surgeon
St. Francis-Emory Healthcare

If you are a smoker or a former smoker, and between the ages of 50 and 80, you may qualify or be eligible for a lung cancer screening exam. And it’s an exam that could be a lifesaver.

According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in both men and women in the U.S., accounting for approximately one quarter of cancer deaths.

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of lung cancer, including radon, exposure to hazardous chemicals, particle pollution and genetic factors, but smoking is the overwhelming number one cause of lung cancer – about 90 percent of lung cancer cases. Even if you quit smoking years ago, your risk – while reduced – is still present.

A lung cancer screening exam is a simple screening that can tell you and a provider if your lungs are healthy or detect lung cancer early, before it spreads, and when treatment can be most effective. Lung cancer symptoms typically do not show up until the disease has advanced, so this early detection is key to catching the cancer early and more effectively treating it. A lung cancer screening exam is a painless screening that usually takes less than a minute to complete, but it’s benefits can last far longer.

Many insurance plans – including Medicare – will cover the cost of the screening if you meet eligibility requirements. If you are a smoker or a former smoker between 55 and 77, you may qualify or be eligible. Talk to your provider about your risks and if a lung cancer screening exam is right for you.

In addition, it’s important to know that there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk for lung cancer – most importantly refraining from smoking and other uses of tobacco (pipes, cigars, vaping, etc.), as well as avoiding secondhand smoke as much as possible, getting your home tested for radon, limiting your exposure to carcinogens and eating a healthy diet.

A lung scan can be a lifesaver. St. Francis-Emory Healthcare offers a Low-Dose Lung CT screening and the first step is an appointment with your primary care provider. Discuss smoking history and other factors to determine if you are eligible for screening. For more information: https://bit.ly/3w81qgM

Dr. Jacob Davtyan is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon who joined the St. Francis Cardiovascular and Thoracic Institute in 2016. He serves as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine and is an Emory Clinic physician. He serves as Medical Director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Program at St Francis-Emory Healthcare. He specializes in the surgical treatment of complex and advanced disorders of the heart, lungs, and chest. He obtained his medical degree from the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA. He completed his residency in General Surgery at UCLA School of Medicine and his Cardiothoracic Surgery Residency at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA.