Lung Cancer Screening
Are you a long-term smoker?
If your answer is YES, a lung screening could save your life.
Screening means that a test is done to look for a disease, in persons at risk for developing the disease, before the disease causes symptoms. In this case, the test is a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest. The goal of screening is to reduce the number of people who die from lung cancer by detecting the disease earlier.
Eligibility for Years Lung Cancer Screening
- Be aged 55 to 77 years old
- Have no current signs of lung cancer such as unexplained cough or weight loss greater than 15 pounds in one year or coughing up blood
- Tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack years (this is the number of years smoked multiplied by the number of packs (20 cigarettes = 1 pack) smoked per day. For example 1 pack per day for 30 years equals 30 pack years or 2 packs per day for 15 years equals 30 pack years)
- Be a current smoker or one that has quit within the past 15 years
- Have a lung cancer screening discussion with a provider to determine eligibility
Benefits of Lung Cancer Screening
Having a low-dose chest CT scans reduces the chance of dying from lung cancer in people who are at risk of developing lung cancer with minimal harm to those who are screened. Benefits were based on the results of the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial which found that lung cancer deaths were decreased by 20 percent in people who had annual low-dose CT scans over two years (1).
Drawbacks of Lung Cancer Screening
Screening for lung cancer with a chest CT scan can find small spots, called nodules, in the lungs. There is no way to tell if these lung nodules are lung cancer without further tests such as repeat CT scans or biopsies. Therefore, many people who are screened may have further tests without having lung cancer.
Lung cancer screening CTs use a very small dose of radiation. The dose is five times less than a standard CT. The effects of radiation from lung cancer screening is not known. The benefits are though to outweigh any consequences.
If you smoke, you can cut your risk of dying from lung cancer by quitting. We advise all smokers to quit. CCHC has free smoking cessation classes that can help you quit. Please refer to our website www.cchchealthcare.com under the News and Events tab for further information on our smoking cessation classes.
For More Information
Please ask your provider about our Lung Cancer screening program or call 252-633-4111 for more information.
Footnote: (1) Reduced Lung-Cancer Mortality with Low-Dose Computed Tomographic Screening. The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial Research Team. N Engl J Med 2011;365:395-409.