Did you know that lung cancer screening is increasingly recommended to some patients during annual check-ups? That’s because early detection saves lives. Not to mention, it’s a fast, painless procedure: Just a quick scan, and you’re off! That’s great news, because according to the American Lung Association, scans can detect cancer at early, more curable stages and can reduce lung cancer death by up to 20%.
Eligibility for Screening
If you are 50-80 years old with a history of smoking – specifically, you currently smoke or quit smoking in the past 15 years and have at least a 20 pack-year smoking history (i.e., a pack a day for 20 years, two packs a day for 10 years) – you’re most likely eligible for screening. People with certain risk factors are also eligible: breathing problems, cancer, radon or asbestos exposure, or a family history of lung cancer. Medicare and most insurance/VA plans will cover lung cancer screening for high-risk patients.
Scan and Procedure
A radiology technologist will position you on an exam table while you’re lying on your back. The table will move through a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scanner as you hold your breath for a few seconds. After a few minutes, the scanner will create a detailed 3D image of your lungs, and that’s it! This painless test uses 75% less radiation than chest X-rays and can detect lung cancer before any warning signs occur.
After your scan, the images are reviewed by a subspecialized radiologist. Your doctor will receive your results and discuss them with you. If the scan is negative, you should re-screen in one year.
Talk with your doctor to see if you are a candidate for lung screening today! Visit CT Lung Screening – The Hill Medical Corporation for more information about lung cancer screening.