Lung Cancer Screening with low dose CT
Lung cancer is the leading cause of mortality in the United States and the world. Despite many advances in medicine sine the 1970s, the overall 5 year mortality for lung cancer has not significantly changed and is unacceptably low.
Screening programs for cervical, colon and breast cancer have demonstrated significant improvement in overall mortality for these diseases.
Recent data from the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial has demonstrated strong evidence that screening with low dose CT scans of the chest can save a significant number of lives for patients with risk factors for lung cancer. The potential impact of screening on high risk patients was deemed so significant that the trial was halted early.
Frequently Asked Questions
The goal of screening is to save lives by identifying lung cancer when it is much easier to treat and can be fully cured. Current advances in surgery allow minimally invasive techniques and short hospital stays. 5 year cure rates for early lung cancer are as great as 85 percent.
Who should be screened?
Level 1: Age 55 years of age or older. Current smokers who have a smoking history of 30 pack years or greater (ie. 1 pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years) Former Smokers who have quit within 15 years.
Level 2: Age 50 years or older. 20 pack year history of smoking and have an additional risk factor such as asbestos exposure, strong family history, pulmonary fibrosis, COPD/Emphysema.
Screening is intended for patients at their baseline health. If you are having new symptoms including weight loss, shortness of breath, or blood in the sputum, please schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
How is the exam performed?
Screening is performed with a CT scanner and takes no more than 15 seconds. No contrast (dye) is given and there is no prep for the test. No medications are given and no needles are used. You can eat before and after the exam.
How much radiation will I be exposed to?
Advances in CT technology allow low dose screening CT to use 25% of the exposure of a standard CT of the chest; the dose related to the low dose CT is similar to the amount received by a patient having mammography.
What should I do next?
If you think you meet the criteria, please talk to your doctor about making an appointment for screening at L+M Diagnostic Imaging at CrossRoads, 196 Waterford Parkway South, Waterford CT.
What is the cost of the screening?
The current cost for the test is $150. Screening patients will need an order from their doctor. Patients will be accommodated with expeditious appointments. If there are questions, please feel free to contact the Imaging Center at 860.442.8800 for more information.
What happens after the scan?
The images will be reviewed by one our skilled radiologists and a report will be sent to your doctor. You will receive a letter including results and recommendations after the exam.
Smoking Cessation - Is it important?
To quit smoking is one of the most important steps you can take to a healthier life. If you’ve tried to quit smoking in the past, keep trying. Millions of smokers have successfully stopped smoking and you can too.