Lung Cancer Screening
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in the United States.
If you are at risk for developing lung cancer, turn to Harris Regional’s lung screening program for an individualized care plan to help protect your health.
Low-dose CT (LDCT) scans find a disease early, when treatment may work better. If you are a current or former smoker, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of a lung screening.
Risk Factors for Lung Cancer
- Certain chronic lung diseases
- Contact with radon, asbestos or other cancer-causing agents
- Family history of lung cancer
- Personal history of smoking-related cancer
- Tobacco smoking
Even though smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer, non-smokers are at risk as well. If you are having trouble with your lungs, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
Benefits of Screening
- CT scanning is painless and noninvasive.
- Lung cancer found by screening with LDCT is often at an earlier stage of disease and easier to treat.
- No radiation remains in a patient’s body after a CT examination.
Who Should Consider Lung Cancer Screening?
An individual’s need for a specific screening test are based on factors such as age, gender and family history. Lung cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining air passages. When detected early – before spreading to other areas of the body – it is more successfully treated.
What Is a Lung Cancer Screening?
Screening examinations are tests performed to find disease before symptoms begin. The goal is to detect disease at its earliest and most treatable stage.
CT scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple, cross-sectional images of the inside of the body. Low-Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) produces images of sufficient quality to detect many lung diseases and abnormalities using up to 90% less ionizing radiation than a conventional chest CT scan.
Who Should Be Screened for Lung Cancer?
Individuals at high risk of developing lung cancer who might consider LDCT screening should meet the following criteria:
- You’re age 50-77.
- You don’t have signs or symptoms of lung cancer (asymptomatic).
- You’re either a current smoker or have quit smoking within the last 15 years.
- You have a tobacco smoking history of at least 20 “pack years” (an average of one pack (20 cigarettes) per day for 20 years).
- You get an order from your doctor.
To determine whether you are a candidate for lung cancer screening, you should see your doctor, who will review your medical history and advise you on the benefits, limitations and potential risks of the test.
Assess Your Smoking History
What is a “pack year history?”
A pack year is a measure of how many cigarettes a person has smoked over a long period of time.
To determine your pack year history, simply calculate:
___ number of packs per day X ___ number of years smoking = ___ pack year history
If you have smoked less than a pack a day for a long period of time, you can calculate your pack history this way:
___ number of cigarettes per day X ___ number of years smoking/20 =___ pack year history
What happens if something is detected on my screening exam?
Lung cancer typically occurs in the form of a lung nodule, an area of abnormal tissue within the lung. Greater than 95% of these nodules do not represent cancer, but represent areas of scarring from prior infection or small lymph nodes. If your LDCT scan detects a nodule, your physician will likely recommend a follow-up LDCT scan several months later to check that the nodule does not change in size.
In the event the nodule grows or is suspicious, your doctor may recommend further evaluation with an advanced imaging study (PET scan) and/or removal of a small piece of the nodule (biopsy). If the nodule is cancerous, additional blood and imaging tests may be recommended to determine the state of the tumor. The treatment options and expected results of treatment depend on the stage of the tumor.
How is Lung Cancer Diagnosed?
- Electrobe Magnetic Navigational Bronchoscopy - Uses GPS-like mapping technology to guide tools through the lungs and establish markers. Technology can detect very small (as small as 2 mm) lesions
- Endobronchial Ultrasound - Imaging is used to detect the location and size of tumor or mass for greater accuracy in biopsy
- Lung Biopsy
What are the Surgical Treatments for Lung Cancer?
- Lobectomy - Traditional lobectomy may be required for patients who have more invasive lung cancer.
- Lung Resection: Surgical removal of part of a lung
- Pneumonectomy: Surgical removal of an entire lung
- Video Assisted Thorascopic Surgery (VATS) Lobectomy - A minimally invasive procedure that may be used for early-stage lung cancer patients and offers a more rapid recovery than the traditional thoracotomy surgical approach.
More Treatments for Lung Cancer
The Harris Regional Infusion Center offers care for outpatients who require chemotherapy or other infusion products.
External Beam radiation treatments are delivered via Linear Accelerator at Harris Regional Medical Center.
Harris Regional’s qualified, compassionate cancer team at the Harris Regional Cancer Center is available to provide holistic, supportive, quality care to meet your needs and provide resources.
A physician order and physician visit are required for insurance coverage.