Lung XrayLung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, causing more deaths than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined. Results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) showed that screening current and former heavy smokers with at least three low-dose CT scans reduced their risk of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent.

Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

People with a history of cigarette smoking have a higher risk of lung cancer. Based on the National Lung Screening Trial­ findings, lung cancer screening is recommended for this group of people

  • Between the ages of 50 and 80 years
  • Have no history of lung cancer
  • Are current smokers who have smoked at least one pack per day for 30 years or more or are former smokers who have smoked at least one pack per day for 30 years or more but quit fewer than 15 years ago
  • Are not on oxygen
  • Have never undergone lung surgery
  • Have never experienced an unexplained weight loss of more than 15 pounds
  • Have not had a chest CT scan within the past 12 months

Screening means testing for a disease when there are no symptoms. Low-dose CT screening of the chest looks for lung nodules which may be early lung cancer. This offers the best chance of ­ finding lung cancer in its earliest and most curable stages. During the screening, you will lie on a table that passes through the center of the scanner. The screening CT can be performed with a single short breath-hold and takes less than 15 seconds. The procedure is painless. The benefit of finding and treating early lung cancer far outweighs the risk.

The amount of radiation exposure from CT lung cancer screening is about the same as a person would receive from background radiation (such as sun exposure) over a period of one year. A radiologist will interpret your screening chest CT and either recommend a one-year follow-up or further testing. Results are sent to your physician. You will receive a follow-up call from the lung patient navigator and a letter with your results.

To schedule an appointment or discuss your risk factors, contact us at 920.623.6434.