Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women worldwide, and 85 % of these deaths occur in current or former cigarette smokers. Other risk factors of lung cancer include exposure to radon or asbestos, a personal or family history of cigarette smoking or other chronic lung diseases. Now, there is hope- a simple screening test called a low-dose CT (computed tomography) scan that detects lung cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage. The Logan Regional Medical Center Radiology Department has developed a low-dose CT scanning program for eligible patients who do not have any symptoms of lung cancer and meet specific criteria based upon age and cigarette smoking history. The low-dose CT scan is the only recommended test for lung cancer screening.
What does a low-dose CT scan do?
A low-dose CT scan utilizes x-rays to take several cross-sectional images of a person's body. The scanner rotates around the patient while taking several images of the part of the body being examined- which in this case is the lungs. Specialized computers then combine the pictures into images of slices of the lungs to be further analyzed. The images are of sufficient quality to detect small abnormalities (nodules) or the size, shape, and position of any lung tumor. The term low-dose references the lower dose of ionizing radiation used during the test. This test uses 90% less radiation than a typical chest x-ray.
Who is eligible?
- Current or former smokers (if you have quit within the past 15 years you may still qualify)
- Who are 55 to 77 years of age
- Have smoked at least:
- 1 pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years
- 2 packs of cigarettes per day for 15 years
- 3 packs of cigarettes per day for 10 years
- Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer
- Have other risk factors such as radon or asbestos exposure, family history of lung cancer, or a chronic lung disease
Low-dose CT screenings provide earlier detection, when lung cancer is most treatable. Discuss your medical history along with the risks and benefits of the screening to determine if a low-dose CT scan is right for you. This screening is covered by Medicare when ordered by your doctor after a lung cancer screening counseling appointment. Reduce your risk of developing lung cancer by making a plan to quit smoking, maintaining a smoke-free home and work environment, and being aware of occupational exposures.
For more information about the low-dose CT program at Logan Regional Medical Center, please contact the Radiology Department at 304.831.1200.