What is Lung Cancer Screening?
November 5, 2019
According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be an estimated 228,150 new lung and bronchus cancer cases in 2019, which will account for nearly 24% of all cancer deaths. When detected early, patients have more treatment options and a far greater chance of survival. A lung cancer screening can find something before symptoms appear.
Low-Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT)
A low-dose CT (LDCT) scan is recommended for individuals at risk for lung cancer and the only cost-effective method proven to significantly reduce cancer deaths. Computerized Tomography (CT) is an X-ray test that generates a detailed view of the anatomy or structure of organs and tissues in the body. The CT scan can show the dimension of vessels, lymph nodes and organ systems. For lung cancer screening, the LDCT machine takes a 3-D picture of the lungs. The procedure itself takes approximately 10 minutes to capture images of the lung and any area that does not appear normal, such as nodules, or spots on the lung, which are small areas of growth in or on the lung. Approximately 86% of people screened will text negative for lung cancer.
Who should be screened for lung cancer?
- Individuals age 55 to 77 years old (55-80 years for some private insurers)
- Current smokers or former smokers who had quit within the last 15 years
- Individuals who show NO symptoms of lung cancer such as a new onset of cough or shortness of breath, weight loss or coughing up blood
- Has a smoking history of at least 30 pack years. To calculate pack years (20 cigarettes = 1 pack), take the number of years smoked and multiply the average number of packs smoked per day.