CT Lung Cancer Screening
Lung cancer accounts for 1 of every 3 cancer deaths, leading the way for cancer deaths in all ethnic groups. It is the second-most diagnosed cancer in men and women.
Learn More About CT Lung Cancer Screening
Startling as the facts may be, only 16% of lung cancers are diagnosed at their earliest, most curable stages. However, if caught early, patients can increase their treatment options, outcome and survival rate. Recent efforts from the National Cancer Institute aim to change survival rates. Their eight year trial, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), of 53,000 smokers and ex-smokers has shown that using CT for screening of lung cancer instead of a chest X-ray has reduced cancer deaths from lung cancer by 20% over just five years.
CT Lung Cancer Screening is a Helical CT scan which evaluates your lungs for any signs of lung cancer. This screening tool is intended for individuals considered to be at high risk for developing lung cancer. The advanced CT scan provides a rapid examination of your lungs and is designed to detect small nodules (possible cancers) that may be present but not yet visible on a standard chest x-ray. Recent research suggests that detection of these nodules at a very small size may dramatically improve likelihood of survival of lung cancer.
For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit www.radiologyinfo.org.
CT Lung Cancer Screening is suggested for former or current smokers ages 55 – 77 with a 30 pack-year smoking history. Former smokers must have quit within the past 15 years. Pack-year history is calculated by multiplying the number of years smoking by the number of packs per day. Using this formula, a person who smoked 1 pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years has smoked for 30 pack-years. Likewise, someone who smoked 2 packs per day for 15 years also smoked for 30 pack-years.
If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for CT Lung Cancer Screening, you can use the Lung Cancer Risk Calculator at http://www.shouldiscreen.com.
One of our board-certified Radiologists will interpret your exam and send a report to your physician within 5 business days. Contact your referring physician for any information pertaining to the findings.
Typically your referring physician will schedule an appointment for you. If you have been asked to schedule the appointment yourself, please call 850-878-4127.
Recently, insurance providers have started to cover CT Lung Cancer Screening at varying levels. Since insurance results can differ based on the plan, please call us at 850-878-4127 so that we can help you based on your personal insurance coverage. If your insurance provider does not cover the screening or if you do not have insurance, you will be billed for $250 (our self-pay rate).
If your doctor requested a Spirometry test to measure how well your lungs work, this test will be done prior to the CT scan. One of our technologists will have you sit down and will place a clip over your nose to keep your nostrils closed. You will be asked to take a deep breath and breathe out as hard as you can for several seconds into a tube. You will be asked to repeat the test at least three times to make sure your results are consistent. This entire process normally takes less than 15 minutes.
For the scan, you will be escorted to the CT imaging table and asked to lie down on your back. A technologist will ask you to hold your breath for 5 seconds while the images are taken. The exam is completed in less than 10 minutes from entering the exam room to exiting.
If your scan is normal, you may wish to obtain a repeat study in one year.
If the radiologist detects a pulmonary nodule that raises concern, you may be asked to return for a diagnostic CT test. Frequently, nodules detected on the screening exam are subsequently revealed to be benign granulomas or scars on the diagnostic study.
Therefore, an initially positive screening test does not mean you have lung cancer. Additional charges for the diagnostic scan, and for any additional tests that may be needed will usually be covered by insurance. In some cases, a small nodule may be detected which is not considered suspicious, and you may be asked to return for periodic rechecking of the nodule to be sure it is benign (not cancerous).
Low-Dose CT Lung Screening was endorsed by Medicare in January 2015 for patients who qualify as “high risk” patients.
- Are you between the ages of 55 to 77?
- Have you smoked at least a pack a day for at least 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years?
- Are you still smoking or have you stopped within the past 15 years?
If your answer is ‘yes’ to all three of the above questions, you may qualify as a “high risk” patient and may be eligible for insurance coverage. Contact your doctor to see if a Low-Dose CT Lung Screen is right for you.