Edward Cancer Center offers a CT Lung Screening for at risk patients. This lung screening, designed to assist in early detection, can give those at risk the opportunity for a healthier lifestyle.
Why should I have a CT Lung Screen?
Lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer in the United States, with 222,520 people expected to die from it this year. In part, this is because there has been no reliable way to detect lung cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage. Now, new research suggests a way to screen people at high risk for lung cancer and reduce the number of deaths from this disease.
Who should have a CT Lung Screen?
Our advanced practice nurse (APN) will review your age, family history, work history, and symptoms to ensure you are a good candidates for the CT Lung scan. We also take into consideration recommended screening guidelines the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has recommended screening for high-risk individuals ages 55 to 74 who have smoked a pack or more of cigarettes a day for 30 years or more, and who are still smoking or who quit less than 15 years ago. The NCCN also recommends screening for those 50 and older who have smoked a pack a day or more of cigarettes for 20 years or longer and have one additional risk factor for lung cancer. This could include a history of exposure to radon or occupational exposure to certain chemicals.
Does the CT Lung Screen hurt or is it uncomfortable?
No, the screen is simple and painless. You simply lay on the screenning table, which slides under a large open cylinder, and hold your breath for a few seconds.
It is a quick procedure – about 15 minutes including prep time.
Are there any risks?
A CT Lung Screening finds abnormalities in about 20 to 60 percent of smokers and former smokers, but most of these abnormalities are scars from inflammation or other noncancerous conditions. In some cases, screenings may lead to biopsy, causing anxiety for those getting screened and their loved ones. Often the spot is found to be benign, but that can only be determined through an invasive procedure.
CT screens are so good at seeing nodules or spots on the lung that they can see very small nodules that don't need immediate testing, but do need follow-up CT screenings to detect any changes, and CT screens expose you to a small dose of radiation. Compared with some other parts of the body, such as the breast, lungs have greater potential for developing radiation-induced cancer. The risk of developing cancers from CT screens is small, but it's a reminder of the importance of weighing the risk versus the benefit of any medical test.
Why should I have my CT Lung Screen at Edward?
Unlike other centers that simply screen and provide your results, the Edward Cancer Center has a Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Clinic made up of a team of cancer experts. Once you are screened, you will automatically be enrolled in our Multidisciplinary Clinic and our experts will actively follow up with you on a yearly basis to monitor your lung health.
In the event a nodule is found to be cancerous, our team will notify you immediately and schedule you to meet with the physicians who make up our Multidisciplinary Clinic. These physicians gather with you to review and discuss your case and develop an individualized treatment plan. The result is coordinated, faster, and more efficient treatment. With our Clinic, patients are able to start treatment within weeks, whereas at other facilities, it can take up to a month just to coordinate the treatment plan.
In addition, we have a nurse navigator who helps guide patients and families with anything and everything – from answering treatment questions to lending a supportive ear.
While our team will track and closely monitor your care, we will also keep your primary care physician informed of any tests, treatments, and results in order to enhance communication and coordination of care.