Low Dose Lung Screening
In This Page:
- Need to Know
- Nice to Know
- Why is This Exam Done?
- What Will Happen During the Exam?
- How Should I Prepare?
- What are the Benefits and Risks?
- Where Can I Get This Exam?
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. This disease is responsible for more deaths annually than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined. In the United States, the lifetime risk of developing invasive lung cancer is 1 in 17 for men and 1 in 18 for women.
It is estimated that over 80 percent of lung cancers could be cured if detected at an early stage. Catching lung cancer in an early stage while it is still localized to the lung is essential. A person's chance of survival decreases when the tumor grows to be 3 cm or more. If the cancer spreads to areas of the body outside the lungs, the survival rate is only 5 percent, compared with 70 percent if the cancer is detected early. CT lung screening is capable of detecting lung nodules as small as 2 or 3 mm. By catching malignant tumors when they are still small, they can be surgically removed before disease spreads to other areas of the body.
- Please inform the technologist if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
- Take all of your prescribed medications as scheduled.
- Exam is usually completed within 15 minutes
- Allows for more accurate diagnosis than traditional x-ray
CT lung screening is a noninvasive, painless procedure that uses low-dose x-rays to screen the lungs for cancer in just 30 seconds. A CT lung screening allows the radiologist to look at different levels, or slices, of the lungs using a rotating X-ray beam. It is performed on a multislice spiral computed tomography (CT) scanner and can detect smaller nodules or cancer than standard chest X-rays. A tumor or nodule is a mass of cells that grows on the lungs. It can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). By detecting malignant tumors in an early stage with CT lung screening, the cancer cells can be treated at a time when the cancer still has promising survival rates and is localized to the lungs
While positioning you on an exam table, the technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have.
You will be asked to lie flat on your back, with your arms over your head.
The exam table will slide into the scanner, only covering the part of your body which is being studied. The scanner is open at the back and the front, allowing you to see out.
The technologist will always be able to see and hear you during your exam.
You may be asked to hold your breath for a short time while the scanner takes a series of pictures. The time it takes to actually acquire images is very brief.
The images will be reviewed, and if necessary, some may be repeated.
This procedure usually takes approximately 15-20 minutes.
How Should I Prepare?
What to Wear?
Please dress in comfortable clothing. Leave all jewelry and valuables at home
Please take all the medications that have been prescribed to you by your doctor. Let our staff know what medications you have taken prior to your exam.
What Should I bring?
If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.
What are the Benefits and Risks?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, American College of Chest Physicians, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Cancer Society, American Thoracic Society, and the American College of Radiology recommend lung screening for individuals between 55 and 77 who have any of the following risk factors:
History of lung cancer
30 pack-year or more smoking history (one pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years, two packs of cigarettes per day for 15 years, etc.)
Past history of 30 pack-year smoking (less than 15 years ago)
Exposure to other cancer-causing agents (eg, asbestos and radon)
Follow-up screening is recommended every once a year for patients who remain at high risk. It is important for patients to be aware that having a negative scan (no nodules or cancer) does not mean that lung cancer will not develop in the future if they remain at high risk for the disease.