What is a Low Dose CT Lung Screening and why should I consider it?

Low Dose CT Lung Screening (LDCTLS) is the only recommended screening test for adults who have no symptoms but are at risk for lung cancer. Our low-dose scanners deliver 60% less radiation than a traditional CT. It is a quick, noninvasive, painless scan of the chest which acquires 3- dimensional, spiral, cross-sectional images of the lungs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in the US. Most lung cancers are diagnosed at advanced stages making treatment more difficult. Catching lung cancer early before symptoms are present and treating it quickly leads to better outcomes. A recent national study of over 55,000 smokers proved that CT Lung Screening saves lives. (1)

Video courtesy of go2foundation.org

CT-or-CT-lung-screening

How can I quit smoking?

85% of lung cancers occurs in current or former smokers. Quitting smoking now will decrease your odds for developing cancer. Screening is not an alternative to smoking cessation.

Resources available to help you quit smoking include:

Apps

  • Quit Smoking

  • Smoke Free

  • Quit Now

Who should consider it and will insurance cover it?

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSFT) recommends annual screening for people meeting all criteria below (2):

  • Ages 55-80 Private Insurance
  • Ages 55-77 Medicare
  • A 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.  Example- (1 pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years)
  • Current smoker or former smoker who has quit in the last 15 years and has no symptoms.
  • Patients willing to undergo surgery if necessary.

Generally, if patients meet all criteria listed above, most private insurance and Medicare will cover low dose CT Lung Screening. Annual screening is recommended. Please check with your insurance to determine benefit coverage.

Discuss with your doctor to see if Low Dose CT Lung Screening (LDCTLS) is right for you. An order is required for this test.

What are the risks of CT Lung Cancer Screening?

False-positive results may occur which may lead to additional testing or more invasive tests which may lead to patient anxiety.  False-negative results may occur which could lead to a delay in medical care.

What will happen during the CT scan?

There is no preparation required prior to the test. You will be asked to remove all jewelry and the technologist will obtain a medical history. You will lie on your back during the exam. Plan for a 30 minute appointment and a 10 minute scan time.

When Can I Expect the Results?

A radiologist will review the images and send a report to your referring provider within one business day. Your doctor will review the report and contact you with the results. You may resume normal activities after the test.

Resources

  1. National Institute of Health (NIH)  https://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/research/nlst
  2. USPSTF. Lung cancer: screening. Recommendation summary. 2013  https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/lung-cancer-screening

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