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Early detection


staceyabee

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Hi,

I haven't posted for a while. I just lost my dad three months ago and what an education this experience has been. I am angry because my dad was a prime candidate for early detection (if screening tools were available for LC). He quit smoking 25 yrs ago, but lost two siblings to LC. Also, he was a firefighter for 35 yrs and probably breathed in a lot of nasty stuff. It's upsetting because he took his health seriously and got other cancer screenings (prostate, colon) regularly.

So, I've done some research and found that using CT scans for early detection is somewhat controversial (can cause lots of false positives, etc). I'm a healthy 33 yr old non-smoker but both parents smoked while I was growing up. Now, I obviously have a family history of LC. I realize how vital early detection is to beating this disease. My question is - should I push for a CT scan at my annual physical? I've seen more than a couple of people on this board who are in their 30s and that frightens me. What do you guys think????

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Keeping in mind the false positives, I think it's all we've got in terms of early detection.

I would get a CT if I was at risk or had a family history. (Which in my case is yes, and yes.)

Many insurance companies won't pay for a CT unless you show a medical need for one, but if you have been "coughing alot" , perhaps your doctor can get this test qualified by your ins. co.

Also, to pay for this test out of pocket is about $350. so it is not unreasonable.

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One thing to consider from someone in their 30s with LC and no family history - CTs are radiation, exposure to too much radiation can cause cancer. I guess it's basically a "pick your poison" kinda thing, ya know?

Oh, yeah, and a CT means a needle, a good-sized one for the contrast dye...

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I actually spoke to someone in the lung department at the hospital my husband is being treated.

I am 43 and have been exposed to 2nd hand smoke for 43 years. Both my parents smoked, My 1st husband smoked, I worked in a bar when it was still legal to smoke in a bar. My current husband smokes.

Here is what they told me.

anyone exposed to 2nd hand smoke for more than 25 years has a 40% increased chance of developing lung cancer.

To give myself peace of mind I will be having a scan after the 1st of the year. I would rather know something now then later.

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Have the test, will give you peace of mind. Talk it over with your doctor. You may or may not have to drink (from an hour to an hour and a half depending on where you get it) some crap before the test. As far as the needle goes--no more then having routine blood drawn. In my case the test itself took about 15 minutes or so. I've had about 15, give or take and still don't glow in the dark. It's a pretty much straight forward, routine, boring test. Of course everyone's experience is different. Good Luck.

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There are two types of CT scans now. The low dose helical (spiral CT scan) are the ones that are being used for early detection and they have much better resolution than the older technology.

There is a smaller radiation risk with the low-dose CT scan. It is equivalent to a mammogram

They detect down to a much smaller than a pea (2 mm)

1cm = 10mm so 1/5 of a cm

If you smoked before you might be able to find a clinical trial. There are also places where you pay around $500. That's the price I heard probably over 1-2 years ago. I am not sure it might be cheaper now.

There are supposed to be high false positives. But by taking serial spiral scans, the change in size can be monitored and that will provide info on the possiblity of malignancy.

Dr Claudia Henschke is one of the current researchers

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