Lung Screening for Cancer
Lung cancer is leading causes of cancer-related death in America. If you currently smoke or have quit smoking in the last 15 years, a low-dose CT scan may be the key to finding out if you are in the early stages of lung cancer.
A low-dose CT scan is done in the hospital radiology department. Multiple pictures are taken as you lie on a table that slides in and out of a machine that looks like a giant donut. The pictures are then combined for a detailed image of your lung.
The scan does not require a hospital stay and is usually completed in about 15 minutes.
Statistics show that lung cancer is the #1 cause of cancer-related death in the United States. The lung screening helps detect lung cancer early on. If caught early, there is a much higher likelihood of curing the cancer and prolonging your life.
If you fit the following criteria, you should consider a low-dose CT scan for lung cancer:
- Patients 55-80 years of age
- Have a 30 pack-year history of smoking (1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.)
- AND are a current smoker, or have quit within the last 15 years
The scan should be covered if you meet the requirements for being at risk. This is the case if you are between the ages of 55 – 80 with private insurance or if you are between the ages of 55-77 and are covered by Medicare. There may be a co-pay if the scan is performed at a facility that is out of network for your insurance provider.
When scheduling your scan, confirm with the facility that it is "in-network" with your insurance provider.
If your scan comes back as “positive”, it means the images of your lungs show something abnormal. In this case, you may need to have additional scans or other procedures. Your options will be discussed with your physician to find the best treatment plan for you.
A “negative” scan result means there is no abnormal findings at the time the scan was performed. It is recommend that you are then re-tested on a yearly basis.
It is also possible to get an “indeterminate” result. In the case of an indeterminate result, your physician may recommend follow-up imaging at a later time.
Even with a negative result you could still be at risk for lung cancer later in your life. The best way to prevent lung cancer is by quitting smoking now. If you are currently smoking, talk to your doctor about the best ways to help you stop.
Even if your initial screening result is negative, you should be screened yearly. Your provider will be sure to remind you of your yearly lung screening and schedule it for you.
To schedule a screening at Ogden Regional Medical Center, call 801-476-6900. The team will walk through the process for securing a referral from a physician and help schedule your scan.