Lung Cancer

Lung cancer screening

Image of lungs.A recent national study conducted by the National Cancer Institute found that low-dose helical CT screenings were more effective than chest x-rays in finding lung cancer at an early stage when the cancer is more treatable. 

Lung cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and our lung cancer screening program has been designed to help you reduce your risk of getting lung cancer.

You will need a physician to order this screening prior to scheduling an appointment.

*Check with your insurance carrier for possible coverage details.

Who is eligible?

If you meet the following criteria, you would be eligible for this screening.

  • If age 50 - 80 years old AND
  • >/= 20 pack-year history of smoking, AND
  • Currently smoking or quit smoking less than 15 years ago AND
  • No current signs or symptoms of lung cancer

Click here for an online calculator to determine your history of smoking number - a calculation based on the number of cigarettes per day is available. 

Why should I be screened?

Lung cancer, primarily caused by cigarette smoking, is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

Most lung cancers are detected when they cause symptoms (i.e. coughing, shortness of breath, weight loss and fatigue). By the time symptoms are present, the cancer has most likely spread outside of the lung and is more difficult to treat.

One of the keys to more successful treatment of lung cancer is the early detection of the disease. That is why it is important to be screened before symptoms develop.

Risk factors for lung cancer:

  • Contact with Asbestos or other cancer-causing agents
  • Contact with radon 
  • Family history of lung cancer 
  • History of cancer
  • History of COPD or pulmonary fibrosis
  • Tobacco smoking

What to expect after the scan

After reviewing and interpreting your Screening Chest CT scan, our Radiologists will recommend either a follow-up yearly Screening CT or the need for further examinations or treatments. These results will be shared with your Primary Care Provider (PCP) who ordered your Screening Chest CT Scan. If indicated, follow-up appointments should be made with a Thoracic Surgeon (lung surgeon) or a Pulmonologist (lung doctor) recommended by your PCP, or by your personal choice, in a timely manner.

If no lung nodules are found, your next Screening Chest CT should be in one year. Screening after baseline should occur every year for at least two years. After two years, your doctors may want to continue yearly screening.

If a lung nodule is found, the Radiologist can work together with your Primary Care Physician to determine the best course of action for you. We also have a team of Pulmonologists (lung doctors) and Thoracic Surgeons (lung surgeons) available. This multidisciplinary group of physicians will review any abnormal findings and make recommendations.

You will be provided with smoking cessation information. The most important way to decrease lung cancer rates is for smokers to quit smoking.

For more information, call the high risk lung cancer program at 269.932.9337

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