Life-Saving Lung Cancer Screening | Tufts Medical Center

Randy Sylvia loved playing in his backyard pool with his grandkids, but unexplained weight loss over a number of years led his primary care doctor to do some investigating including scheduling him for a screening test that is now recommended for heavy smokers.
I was a pretty heavy smoker yes, I was uh “never happen to me. I’d never get cancer.” Well, it got me The test is called a low dose CT scan. It takes just minutes. The patient lies on a table while a machine takes multiple pictures of the chest from different angles. It can find small lung cancers and other abnormalities when they’re most treatable. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in this country. It’s a disease that’s not symptomatic meaning it doesn’t cause patients problems that they noticed until it’s fairly advanced stage. Lung cancer screening is recommended for those at highest risk for the disease, those 55 to 80 years of age who have smoked one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years. We can see this abnormality here in the top of his left lung. Randy’s scan turned up a cancer the size of a grape. Dr. Lasoletta was able to remove the cancer before it had a chance to spread. When we catch cancer early before it’s spread to lymphnodes, for example, that often means that surgery by itself is curative and patients may not need chemotherapy afterwards or further treatments.
In fact studies show 20% fewer lung cancer deaths among heavy smokers who get screened. Randy’s follow-up tests showed the cancer is gone. He’s quit smoking and thankful his doctor recommended the screening.
I don’t have to go back, no chemotherapy, no nothing. He got it all.

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