What is a lung cancer screening?

A lung cancer screening is used to detect lung cancer in people who do not have any symptoms to detect the condition at an early stage. Lung cancer is the number 1 cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. If caught early, lung cancer can be treated and patients can live a normal life.
A low-dose computed tomography test, also commonly referred to as a LDCT or low-dose CT scan, is the recommended screening test for lung cancer. Research shows that lung cancer screenings can reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer.

What is a lung cancer screening?

A lung cancer screening is used to detect lung cancer in people who do not have any symptoms to detect the condition at an early stage. Lung cancer is the number 1 cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. If caught early, lung cancer can be treated and patients can live a normal life.

A low-dose computed tomography test, also commonly referred to as a LDCT or low-dose CT scan, is the recommended screening test for lung cancer. Research shows that lung cancer screenings can reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer.

What can you expect during a lung cancer screening?

During a low-dose CT scan, an x-ray machine takes images of the heart and lungs using low doses of radiation. A Mercy Health radiologist will review the images to check for any abnormal nodules.

If the scan does not show any abnormalities, your doctor may recommend a follow-up scan in a year. If the scan shows any spots on the lungs, you may be referred to a pulmonologist for follow-up testing such as a biopsy or a positron emission tomography scan (PET).

Who should be screened for lung cancer?

The CDC’s U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual lung cancer screenings for patients who fall into the following categories:

  • Patients who have a history of heavy smoking – smoking history of one pack a day for 30 years or more or 2 packs a day for 15 years
  • People who currently smoke or who have quit within the last 15 years
  • People who are between 55 and 80 years old and are current or former smokers

Other people who may be candidates for a lung cancer screening include:

  • Anyone with a history of lung cancer that has been in remission for more than five years
  • Anyone in a high-risk category for developing lung cancer such as people who have a family history of lung cancer and people who have been exposed to asbestos
Most experts agree that you can continue to have regular lung cancer screenings until the risks outweigh the benefits of the screening.

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