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Lung Cancer: Good and Bad News

Find out if yearly screenings are right for you

Among Veterans, lung cancer is more common than in the general population. But there’s good news: if you stop smoking now, you’ll reduce your chance of getting lung cancer. If you’ve ever smoked, you know how hard it is to stop. VA has resources to help.

Now the bad news: the risk of developing lung cancer hangs around for a while after quitting. That’s why you’ll want regular screenings. Yearly low-dose CT scans (LDCT) can prevent early death from lung cancer. This video shares more information about who should get LDCT screenings.

Who should get screened

Lung cancer doesn’t have symptoms until it spreads to other parts of the body. The only test detecting lung cancer before it spreads is the LDCT. You should get screened if:

  • You’re 50-80 years old

  • Have smoked for 20 or more “pack years” (one pack per day for 20 years or two packs a day for ten years)

  • Currently smoke or quit smoking in the last 15 years

If you qualify for yearly lung cancer screenings, ask your VA health care provider about them. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and early detection is key to survival. Getting screened for lung cancer could save your life.

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Have you talked to your doctor about lung cancer screenings?

Read More

Images and X-rays Available Online

Lung Cancer Warning Signs

What Is Lung Cancer? (Veterans Health Library)

Updated December 10, 2021