The good news is that we now have an effective tool to catch lung cancer – CT Lung Screening.
If you’re a longtime smoker and are worried about lung cancer, ask your doctor about a CT lung screening. Using a low dose CT scan, lung cancers can be found early when they are smaller, easier to treat and more likely to be cured.
You are a candidate for screening if you are:
- Ages 55-77, with no signs or symptoms of lung cancer and/or pulmonary disease
- Active or former smoker with 30-pack-year smoking history
(1 pack-year is 1 pack of cigarettes per day for 1 year, 30 pack years would be 1 pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years, 2 packs of cigarettes per day for 15 years, etc.)
- If former smoker, quit within the last 15 years
What to Expect at Your Screening
During your screening, you will lie on your back on a long table, you may request a pillow if you like. The technologist performing your scan will ensure you are positioned properly and comfortable before moving to a separate room where they can still see you and talk with you. While the images are being taken of your lungs you will be asked to lie very still, you may also be asked to hold your breath briefly in order to create a clear picture of your lungs. The table will move quickly through the machine as the images are created. The machine may make knocking noises. Your actual scan takes less than a minute, but plan on your entire appointment lasting about 30 minutes. When your scan is complete, you can go about your day normally.
The images created during the scan will be reviewed by a radiologist who specializes in diagnosing lung cancer and may undergo a second review by a team of lung cancer experts. It takes approximately 1-7 days for them to compile your report. Once it is complete your primary care physician will call you with your results and you will receive a follow up letter confirming the result and any recommended action based on the scan.
Stop Smoking Now
One in five South Carolinians smokes tobacco. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death across our country. The CT Lung Screening does not prevent cancer, but smoking cessation can. Talk to your doctor about help to stop smoking.
Schedule Your Screening
It’s easy to schedule your screening at one of Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s six CT locations. You can request an appointment here or call (843) 402-5000. And, most insurance plans, including Medicare, will pay for a CT Lung Screening.