Lung cancer can develop when the cells of the lung start reproducing uncontrollably, bunching together to form a tumour. The symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough, blood-streaked mucous, lung pain, and recurring pneumonia or bronchitis. Risk factors for developing lung cancer include cigarette smoking, exposure to industrial chemicals, radiation exposure, secondhand smoke exposure, and the spread of cancer from other parts of the body.
A CT lung scan can help doctors identify lung cancer. If discovered early enough, surgery is the preferred form of treatment for lung cancer. If discovered in the later stages, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the preferred choices of treatment for lung cancer patients.
Some patients choose to undergo a lung CT scan to screen for lung cancer regardless of whether or not they are exhibiting any symptoms. This scan may be beneficial for current or former heavy cigarette smokers, as smoking increases the risk of lung cancer. Lung cancer is extremely difficult to treat once it has progressed, and is often fatal. However, lung cancer is treatable in the early stages. CT lung scans are capable of identifying even very small abnormalities that may indicate the earliest stages of lung cancer. These small abnormalities are not visible on conventional x-rays.
Many facilities use special low-dose CT techniques to screen for lung cancer screening. Note, though, that CT lung scans cannot detect every type of lung cancer. As well, note that the United States Food and Drug Administration cautions against the reliance on CT scans as a screening tool. Though the amount of radiation patients are exposed to during CT scans is small, repeated radiation exposure can actually increase one’s chances of getting cancer.