The American Association for Thoracic Surgery suggests that seniors in their 70’s may benefit from getting a routine lung cancer screening. This came out after the National Lung Screening Trial found that lung cancer deaths reduced by 20 percent when tomography screenings were used on smokers in the age range of 55 to 75 years. There are recommendations that seniors do continue to get screened until the age of 79 years.
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be around 222,500 new cases of lung cancer in 2017. Around 155,870 men and women will die from lung cancer this year. Almost 25 percent of cancer cases are lung cancer. Early detection is key to surviving this cancer.
Does This Mean Your Dad Should Get Screened?
Not every senior is at risk of developing lung cancer. Some of the factors you should consider are whether or not your dad smoked. Did he work in coal mines or around asbestos? Was he constantly around smokers? Did he work as a firefighter or around smoke on a regular basis? Was his home ever tested for radon? Did he live in an area where air pollution was a problem?
How Does a Screening Work?
Lung cancer screenings used to be done with chest x-rays. As a result, many doctors hesitated to do them regularly because of the radiation. Today, a low-dose CT scan is the preferred way to check the lungs for issues. A CT scan looks at the lungs in multiple dimensions, which makes it one of the most effective ways to find tumors.
Your dad’s doctor may start with a microscopic look at mucus taken from the lungs. If there are cancerous cells, additional tests, such as the CT scan, may be ordered.
What Happens if Something is Found?
If a growth is spotted on a CT scan, a biopsy will be taken. Usually, doctors perform this by getting a tissue sample by using a long needle or by using a bronchoscope that goes down the throat and into the lungs. If the growth is cancerous, a surgical procedure may be done in order to remove the growth and any surrounding tissue.
Hire a Caregiver to Help With Appointments
Your work schedule may make it difficult to get your dad to a medical office for a yearly lung cancer screening. While it’s ideal if you can go, it’s not always possible. Talk to an elderly care agency about transportation services. One of the many services offered by elderly care professionals is transportation. Your dad has a caregiver available to give him rides to appointments, shopping, and local businesses or senior centers.