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Caregivers In Rancho Bernardo Should Learn About New Guidelines
One of the things that Rancho Bernardo caregivers learn is that many elderly people smoked for much of their lives. While they have hopefully kicked the cigarette habit, new guidelines provided by experts advise that seniors who smoked heavily (or still do) should get annual screenings for lung cancer. Here are the specifics on the new guidelines.
Screenings Instead of X-Rays
The recommendation is based on the recent development of an important new tool in detecting lung cancer: Low-dose computed tomography, or LDCT scans. Whereas doctors used to administer chest x-rays to look for cancer, LDCT scans carry less risk and are more convenient. A number of recent large-scale studies have given doctors sufficient confidence in the new tactic to recommend it for seniors instead of x-rays.
Who Should Get Screened?
There are many factors involved in deciding whether to get an LDCT scan each year, so it is always best to work closely with a physician that knows a senior’s specific health condition and history. Broadly speaking, though, people who are between ages 55 and 74, and who have smoked at least 30 packs of cigarettes per year in their past, should get the screenings. If a senior quit smoking over 15 years ago, however, the screenings may not be helpful.
Smoking and Seniors
It’s no mystery any more that cigarettes cause lung cancer. That’s why it is so important for family members and partners like caregivers to do everything possible to help a senior quit smoking, even if it is very difficult after a life spent smoking. The new screenings and guidelines are great tools for detecting lung cancer early, but they do nothing to prevent it.
One final important feature about the screenings is that because they are so new, it is hard for anyone but trained specialists to use them effectively. Doctors without experience administering and interpreting LDCT scans can accidentally give patients incorrect information. Instead caregivers simply taking seniors to local doctors for the scan, there are designated locations where experts can administer them correctly.
Originally posted 2012-08-31 10:30:47.