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Screening for lung cancer

I'm a nonsmoking female. My nonsmoking mom and sister died of small cell lung cancer, diagnosed at stage 4. Are there any evidence based screening recommendations for me?

  1. Hi Ejhb, there are a few diagnosic tests for lung cancer in research (blood, sputum) but right now the standard for screening is a Low Dose CT Scan. Unfortunately, the screening program has not been expanded to include family history. I also have a non-smoking family history, I'm the third generation that I know of, I was diagnosed right after my mom passed away from lung cancer. Many organizations are advocating to expand the program to include family history and other factors. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long. I got a referral from my doctor and I pay for my own screening. Some private facilities have the low dose ct machine used for screening and are a lot less expensive than getting it done in a hospital. I am in a major city, expensive, and it cost me $250 in a private facility, but I feel it is worth it if at all possible. If this is not doable, I would try find a screening program in your area connected to a hospital center and speak to a nurse navigator there to see if she can somehow get you in a screening program. Please don't hesitate to follow up with us. Thinking of you, Alisa, LungCancer.net Team

    1. Thanks Alisa! I have had low dose lung CTs that I paid for out of pocket, wondering how often I should be screened. I've heard every 3-5 years, but haven't seen any reasoning behind the frequency.

      1. That's a hard call and one worthy of a discussion with your doctor. I have a family history of lung cancer, I was diagnosed a few months after my mom passed. I am considered "cured" from my original diagnosis as it was 21 years ago, but I continue to get screened to watch nodules. My protocol was yearly while all was good, then I went back to 6 months because of a pesky nodule. Due to family history, one of my sons recently went private and had a low dose CT and all was clear. We will be talking to my specialist to decide whether he should be screened yearly or every 2 years. The scan is so low dose we don't worry about yearly scans if that will be the protocol. When you mentioned you haven't seen any reasoning, do you mean that you think 3-5 years is too often or not often enough? ~ Alisa

    2. Thanks again. I mean I don't know of any studies on non smokers with family history that specify how often screening should be done. I believe the protocol on smokers is yearly, but don't know if yearly is needed in my case. My Dr offered to send me to a pulmonologist to get an opinion on screening but I declined. I've had a baseline and then 2 more "unchanged" screens, a year and then four years later. I guess I do worry about the amount of yearly radiation.

      1. I get that, I always worried about them, too, as I've been getting regular scans for 21 years. But in my case, and since it is a very low dose ct scan, we have to as I have nodules to monitor carefully. I have a non-smoking mutation and many of my non-smoking family members passed from cancer. Sounds like you are in a good place. If it was me, I would probably choose every 2 years, but our situations are different as I was already diagnosed. Thining of you, Alisa

    3. Thanks Alisa, I appreciate your insight.

      1. Reach out anytime, we are here for you!

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