Lung Cancer Screening

Early Detection Saves Lives

Request a Lung Cancer Screening Appointment

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, often because it is detected too late. Early detection of lung cancer through low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan has proven to be effective in identifying lung cancer when it is most treatable.

What Is a Low-Dose CT scan?

Using a combination of X-ray techniques and computer technology, low-dose CT scans produce high-quality images while reducing radiation doses. Radiologists individualize each CT scan while following low-dose radiation protocols to reduce radiation exposure by as much as 50 to 80 percent. The CT scanner uses an X-ray source similar to that used to obtain ordinary chest X-rays; however, the X-ray beam is so tightly focused that portions of the body outside of the scanned region get relatively little exposure.

The low-dose scan takes less than 60 seconds to complete. A computer creates 3D images of small sections of the lung that offer excellent detail and enable the detection of very tiny lung lesions that are often smaller than one centimeter. Radiologists who specialize in evaluating lung CT scans review the results.

Lung Cancer Screening Can Detect Cancer at Early Stages

Patients who are eligible and get a lung cancer screening have a better chance of detecting lung cancer at an earlier and more treatable stage. Generally, by the time lung cancer signs and symptoms are noticeable, the cancer is usually at a late stage. Detecting it early gives patients the chance for better outcomes. To learn more, talk to your doctor.

Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has created lung cancer screening guidelines. The (USPSTF) lung cancer screening recommendation is yearly low-dose CT scans for people who:

  • Have a history of heavy smoking — a history of “20 pack years” of smoking, where “pack years” is the number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked
  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years
  • Are between 50 and 80 years old

What Are the Risks Associated with Screening for Lung Cancer?

There are three risks associated with lung cancer screening:

  • A false-positive result. A lung cancer screening test suggests a person has lung cancer when they in fact do not. This may lead to unnecessary tests and treatment.
  • Over-diagnosis. A lung cancer screening test finds cancer that may never have caused a problem for the patient. This may lead to unnecessary treatment.
  • Radiation exposure. Exposure to radiation from repeated tests can cause cancer in otherwise healthy people.

To decrease the risks associated with screening, the USPSTF lung cancer screening recommendation is to screen adults who are at high risk for developing the disease because of their smoking habits and age.

When Should Screening for Lung Cancer Stop?

As part of the lung cancer screening guidelines, the USPSTF lung cancer screening recommendation is that yearly lung cancer screening stop when people being screened:

  • Turn 81 years old, or
  • Have not smoked in 15 or more years, or
  • Develop a health problem that makes them unwilling or unable to have surgery if lung cancer is found

High-Risk Individuals Are Usually Covered by Insurance

The cost of low-dose CT scans is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans for individuals at high risk for lung cancer and who meet certain criteria. If you think you may meet the criteria for screening, please talk to your healthcare provider.

To schedule an appointment with one of New Jersey’s best lung and thoracic cancer specialists, call 844-CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.

Request a Lung Cancer Screening Appointment

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