Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, killing more people than colon, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers combined. Eight-five percent of lung cancer cases occur in current or former smokers. Fortunately, this disease is often treatable if caught early. Recent studies show that low-dose CT lung cancer screening can lower your risk of dying from lung cancer.
What is a LDCT lung cancer screening?
LDCT (Low-Dose Computed Tomography) works much like an x-ray to produce pictures of your chest and lungs. This screening detects lung abnormalities with less radiation than a conventional CT scan. The CT machine takes a detailed picture of your lungs that helps your physician locate anything abnormal. The scan takes less than 30 seconds and can detect extremely small nodules - meaning cancer can be found in its earliest stages when it's most treatable.
What are the benefits of low-dose lung screening?
- Capable of detecting very small but potentially cancerous cells at the earliest stage for the least invasive treatment
- Only takes a few moments of your time
- Painless, non-invasive and without any immediate side effects
- Ninety percent less radiation than a conventional CT scan
- Proven to reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer among high risk patients
Initial Consultation and CT Scan
If you would like to undergo a lung screening, the first step is to make an appointment with your primary care provider. This appointment will be a time to discuss your age, smoking history and other factors in order for your physician to determine if you are eligible for screening. If you are eligible, your primary care provider will schedule your LDCT scan.
Follow-up: What happens next?
Your primary care provider (PCP) wiill follow up with you to explain your results and discuss any additional necessary medical care. Should an abnormality be detected, you will have the option of scheduling an appointment to discuss your screening and next steps including non-surgical and surgical biopsy options.
Is this screening covered by my insurance?
Medicare now covers the cost of LDCT screening for high risk patients. Many private health insurers provide coverage as well. Your physician will give you more specific details about eligibility and costs during your consultation.
Am I High Risk?
If you have ever been a smoker and answer "yes" to these questions, you may be considered high risk for lung cancer.
- Between the ages of 50 and 77
- Have a smoking history of 20 pack years (1 pack per day for 20 years)
- Currently a smoker or have quit in the last 15 years
Should I Be Screened?
Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of a low-dose CT. This lung screening may be recommended or YOU may request it. To find a doctor to take care of your lungs, call 800.424.DOCS.