More ex-smokers need life-saving lung cancer screening

Mehmet Oz. M.D and Michael Roizen, M.D.
Mehmet Oz. M.D and Michael Roizen, M.D.

There are 52 million ex-smokers in the U.S. -- and around 62 million people say that they have smoked cigarettes or vaped in the past 30 days according to a 2021 survey. That's a whole bunch of folks who could take advantage of the life-saving benefits of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for lung cancer. But only about 1 in 15 folks who are eligible end up being screened. That's a shame. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in this country and screening can detect it at an early stage when it's treatable -- even curable. A large-scale study published in Radiology reveals that when folks are diagnosed with lung cancer through a CT screening, there is a significant increase in the 20-year survival rate. Among the 1,257 study-participants diagnosed with lung cancer, 81% had Stage I and their long-term survival rate was 87%; it rose to 95% if they were diagnosed in the earliest part of Stage 1. Without annual screenings, most lung cancer cases are caught at later stages. For example, most small cell lung cancer is diagnosed at Stage 3 or 4, with survival rates of five years or less. The American Cancer Society recommends that folks ages 50 to 80 with at least a 20 pack-a-year smoking history should have an annual screening and it doesn't matter how long ago you quit smoking. If you or a loved one meets the screening criteria, take advantage of it, so that even if you are diagnosed, your long-term outcome is as positive as possible.

Dr. Mike Roizen is the founder of, and Dr. Mehmet Oz is global advisor to, the world's leading online health store. Roizen and Oz are chief wellness officer emeritus at Cleveland Clinic and professor emeritus at Columbia University, respectively. Together they have written 11 New York Times bestsellers (four No. 1's).

King Features Syndicate

Upcoming Events