Lung Cancer Screening
More people in the US die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. This is true for both men and women. Luckily, there is a test that can reduce death from lung cancer through early detection. In August 2011, a landmark national study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine that reported low dose CT scans can be used to detect tumors early and reduce lung cancer mortality by up to 20 percent in high risk smokers and ex-smokers.
Low Dose CT (LDCT) Exam
LDCT lung cancer screening is an x-ray exam that uses a LDCT scanner to acquire detailed images of the lungs. The LDCT images demonstrate pathology as small as a few millimeters in size. This exam will benefit patients that are at high risk for lung cancer and can also provide information to their physicians about cardiovascular disease and other lung diseases. The screening will benefit 55-74 year old asymptomatic smokers and former smokers.
LDCT lung cancer screening uses low dose radiation, so you will need a referral from your primary care physician to undergo the screening. Rest assured, the amount of radiation from the screening is minimal – comparable to the average background radiation one gets in a year of living around Albany, NY. Your primary care physician will review your smoking history to see if you are eligible for the screening. The entire examination takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish. The LDCT exam uses x-rays to produce images of the entire chest in less than 10 seconds.
Lung screen exams are now covered by insurance companies. The lung screen criteria is:
- Patient must have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history, and
- Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
- Be between 50 and 80 years old.
ImageCare Medical Imaging was one of the first in the area to launch a lung cancer screening program using LDCT scans, after the findings from the 2011 study. The specially trained thoracic radiologists at ImageCare Medical Imaging can provide patients with guidance through diagnostic evaluation, long term follow-up and, if needed, guidance on treatment. Lung cancer screening can be obtained at ImageCare Latham.
If something suspicious is found during your lung cancer screening exam, your doctor will recommend additional testing to verify there is disease present. Further testing may include bronchoscopy, surgical biopsy, and imaging tests including CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or PET/CT scan and/or bone scan. Imaging tests or surgical procedures may be done for a number of reasons, including to help find out whether a suspicious area might be cancerous, to learn how far cancer may have spread, and to help determine if treatment is working. Our specialists are here to answer all of your questions and explain each step and result to you. We can also help connect you with support services if desired.
CCP offers numerous state-of-the-art options for lung cancer treatment — including surgery, including lobectomy or pneumonectomy, chemotherapy, radiation oncology, radiofrequency ablation, or a combination of these options. Our goal is to provide you with numerous options for care in a comfortable setting. Our surgeons use the leading technological advances for their treatment. Our medical oncologists provide chemotherapy in separate suites. Our radiation oncologists offer patients the latest in radiation oncology using dynamic targeting technology. We can help you navigate the various cancer treatment options available to you. We encourage you to meet with our physicians to discuss your options and personal care plan in more detail.