HealthWatch (WFRV) More than 225 thousand people will be told they have lung cancer this year. Only 15 percent of those people will live five years.
But new technology can help doctors find possible problems earlier than ever before.
A smoker for decades, Jack Meduna is one of the first people to get a low-dose CT Scan to check for signs of lung cancer.
"I'm not proud to say, but I've been smoking for 50 some odd years." Said Jack Meduna
"A cancer as small as one centimeter can be detected. So that's about a half of an inch." Said Dr. David Madtes from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
X-rays can only detect tumors of more than an inch. Regular CT Scans can put patients at risk for developing other cancers, exposing them to eight units of radiation. With this low dose scan, exposure can drop to two units.
"It's about the amount of exposure we all have to atmospheric radiation over the course of one year." Said Dr. Madtes.
Detecting lung cancer at its earliest stage and having it removed, means a person can expect a five year survival rate of 70-percent.
Jack's CT Scan did not detect any cancer. Now he's focused on getting healthy and staying that way.
Low dose CT Scanners are becoming more and more available to the general public.
The American College of chest physicians and the American Society of Clinical Oncology now both recommend people at high risk of developing lung cancer--- including heavy smokers, be screened with the scanner.