Q. What are the risks of getting a lung cancer screening CT?
A. There is some exposure to radiation and we don’t know what the long term effects will be. The scan is done using special software and low-dose protocols to minimize radiation.
It is natural to feel worry and anxiety if a nodule is seen. Most nodules will turn out to be benign ( not cancer). To determine this may require further testing involving radiation, biopsies or surgery, all of which may have some risk and/or side effects.
Q. How do I schedule a Lung Cancer Screening CT?
A. To schedule your CT scan, please call 608-3635.
You will be asked a few basic questions to help determine if the scan is appropriate for you.
The scan is not covered by most insurance. To make this service accessible to as many patients as possible, the CT scan is offered at a discounted self-pay price which includes interpretation by a radiologist.
Q. What can I expect the day of my scan?
A. Wear comfortable street clothing.
Arrive about 15 – 20 minutes before your scheduled time. You will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire regarding your history and risk factors.
The scan itself will only take a few minutes
Q. What can I expect after my scan?
A. You will receive a phone call from a clinician and /or a letter with the results of your scan. At that time you will be notified of the need for follow-up with a physician and/or for any further testing. We will assist you with those appointments. Again, it is natural to feel anxious if a nodule is found. Keep in mind that the majority of findings turn out to be benign (not cancer) and that the goal of the scan is to catch the cancer in its early stage when it is most successfully treated.
Q. What if I have a lung nodule?
A. Lung nodules are common and most of them are benign (not cancer). More than 50% of patients will have a lung nodule found on CT and more than 97% of these nodules will not be cancer. Some patients will need one or more follow –up CTs for a period of 1 to 2 years to make sure they are not growing. Patients with a lung nodule that is suspicious for cancer with be referred to a specialist in pulmonary medicine or thoracic surgery to further evaluate the nodule. The next step depends on multiple factors and may include PET scanning, CT guided biopsy, bronchoscopy, or surgery.
Q. If I am concerned about lung cancer, what else can I do?
A. The most important thing is to stop smoking. Tobacco smoking is a major risk factor in the development of lung cancer and it accounts for 85% of all lung cancer deaths. Learning more about your lungs and lung cancer can help you feel more in control of your health. There are several organizations with helpful information to assist you:
Lung diseases and lung cancer
American Lung Association www.lungusa.org
American Cancer Society www.cancer.org