SARASOTA- Five-year survival rates for Lung Cancer are less than 20% because lung cancer is often diagnosed too late, Sarasota Memorial Hospital is looking to improve those rates by catching lung cancer earlier.

More than 200 thousand people are diagnosed with Lung Cancer every year.

“Lung Cancer is unfortunately the number one cancer killer in America,” Dr. Joseph Seaman. “It kills more folks each year then the other 4 top cancers combined.”

One of the reasons for that, lung cancer symptoms often go unnoticed.

“The majority of people with lung cancer present at an advanced stage,” Dr. Seaman said. “Because there is really no a lot of symptoms associated with lung cancer when it’s growing inside your lungs, common symptoms are cough, congestion, shortness of breath weight loss.”

Sarasota Memorial Hospital is asking those at a high-risk for lung cancer to get low-dose CT scans to help detect cancer earlier.

“Individuals age 55-27,” Dr. Seaman said. “Current or former smokers, or individuals who have smoked more than 30 pack years, which means they’ve smoked one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years.”

The CT scans find nodules too small to be picked up by a regular X-ray and allow doctors to monitor growth.

“It finds lung cancer at an earlier stage of disease,” Dr. Seaman said. “And as a result, folks have a higher likelihood of survival.”

A team of doctors works with patients who get screened to help manage each patient’s case and determine when more testing should be done.

“Any patient that has a lung cancer screen meeting with our providers,” Dr. Seaman said. “That individual is also counseled about smoking, So if they are a current smoker than they are offered smoking cessation opportunities.”

Because the number one way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital will be holding a panel for national smoke out day tomorrow at the hospital that will be streamed live on their Facebook page from noon to 1, if you have questions for doctors.