Lung Cancer Screening using Low-Dose CT
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. with about 175,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
Who can benefit from a lung scan
The goal of screening is to detect lung cancer at a time when it is not causing symptoms and when treatment can be most successful. Screening should increase survival and quality of life. An important recent study referred to as the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) has demonstrated that screening under the appropriate conditions and in the right individuals can reduce death from lung cancer by 20 percent. Additional factors such as family history and occupational exposure can play a role and should be discussed with your doctor or a member of our lung team. We will only screen those individuals that are considered high risk.
Lung cancer is responsible for the most cancer deaths in our state and our region. This likely occurs because our smoking rate is one of the highest in the nation and because there are no symptoms until the disease is in a very advanced stage.
Requirements for the Scan
Patients age 55-77 who are smokers or who have quit within the last 15 years with a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years. Pack-years are calculated by multiplying the average number of packs of cigarettes a person smokes per day by the number of years a person has smoked.
Preparation for your CT Lung Screening
No preparation is required. There is no injection of dye involved. After a medical history is taken, you will be positioned by a CT technologist on the CT table.
What to Expect During the Screening
During the scan, you will be lying on a comfortable table that slowly moves through the wide “donut-like” opening of the CT scanner. The CT technologist may speak with you over the intercom to ask you to briefly hold your breath or not to move certain regions of your body. As with conventional x-rays, you will not feel anything as the images are taken. You will only hear a low buzzing noise. The table will move slightly during the entire examination. You will be asked to hold your breath for about 20 seconds.
New CT scanners such as the advanced 64 slice Brilliance CT used at Holzer are designed to ensure low levels of radiation exposure to patients and staff. Today’s advanced CT scanners offer an optimal combination of low radiation exposure and short examination times while maintaining excellent quality images.
After the Exam
Your Low-Dose Chest CT will be read by a Radiologist, usually within 24 hours. Your results are mailed to you in a week or less with instructions. Your full Low-Dose Chest CT Report, including any minor observations, will be sent to your health care provider. Your exam report and images will be kept on file at Holzer Health System as part of your permanent record and are available for your continuing care.
Every person who is screened will meet with our Program Coordinator, Sandy Thomas, who will make sure that all of your questions are answered and will also facilitate any follow up studies that are required. She will communicate with your referring physician and our lung team to ensure you receive comprehensive care. She will essentially guide you through the entire process. She can be reached at 740-441-3905 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You need a physical referral to schedule a CT lung screening. If you do not have a physician or you need a requisition for the scan, we can help refer you to a doctor.
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