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SGMC sees increase in lung cancer diagnoses, encourages screenings

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 7:13 PM EST
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - It’s National Lung Cancer Awareness Month and South Georgia Medical Center wants to remind you of how important it is to get screened.

That’s especially for those that are long-time smokers.

The best way to screen is using low-dose CT scans.
The best way to screen is using low-dose CT scans.(WALB)

A doctor at South Georgia Medical Center’s (SGMC) Pearlman Cancer Center said they’re now seeing an increase of patients in the community diagnosed with lung cancer since before the pandemic.

With fears of hospitals during the height of COVID-19, screenings were delayed.

An influx of patients now come in with symptoms and a late diagnosis in an advanced stage.

Medical Director at Pearlman Cancer Center Dr. Samuel Ofori said it has a higher death rate than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon combined.

Ofori said it’s important to create awareness in the community to help diagnose sooner, treat and prevent.

“The most effective way to decrease lung cancer mortality is to avoid it and the only way you can avoid lung cancer is by not smoking tobacco. If you are around people who smoke a lot, even though you don’t smoke, your risk of developing lung cancer also goes up, so you should avoid using it and avoid being around people who smoke,” said Ofori.

The survival rate of lung cancer is about 25% but if diagnosed early, chances go up to about 60%.
The survival rate of lung cancer is about 25% but if diagnosed early, chances go up to about 60%.(WALB)

Ofori said there’s no specific symptom. It can be minor like chest pains, coughs and shortness of breath. That’s why it’s hard to catch at an early stage. He said the best way to screen is using low-dose CT scans.

Patients who have been smoking for years are at higher risk and annual scans are recommended.

Ofori said the survival rate of lung cancer is about 25% but if diagnosed early, chances go up to about 60%.

Some of the main treatments are surgery, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

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