According to the American Lung Association, “Screening for cancer means testing for cancer before there are any symptoms. Screening for some types of cancer has reduced deaths by early detection and treatment.”
There is now a test that can reduce death from lung cancer through early detection. It is called low-dose Computerized Tomography (CT) Lung Cancer Screening and it is available at Covenant Medical Center, Mercy Hospital and Sartori Memorial Hospital.
Lung cancer screening is usually reserved for those at high risk of lung cancer, including:
- Older adults who are current or former smokers.
- People who have smoked heavily for many years.
- People who used to smoke heavily but quit.
- People in generally good health.
This test involves a low-dose CT scanner that creates images of your lungs after you pass through the machine. The actual scan takes less than a minute, but you can expect your appointment to last up to a half hour.
A radiologist will look at your CT scan images and send the results to your family doctor. If no abnormalities are found, your doctor may recommend you have another scan in a year. You may continue yearly scans until you and your doctor determine it is no longer needed. If something is found in your scan, your provider may recommend additional tests or biopsies. And in some cases, a CT Lung Cancer Screening can discover other lung and heart problems that are common in people who have smoked for a long time. This may also require additional tests.
Check with your insurance provider to see if they will cover this type of screening.
Medicare covers lung cancer screening once per year for those that meet the following criteria:
- Age 55 to 77 and are either current smokers or quit smoking with the last 15 years
- Have a tobacco smoking history of at least an average of one pack a day for 30 years
- Receive a written order for a physician or qualified non-physician that meets certain requirements
How to Schedule an Appointment
Talk to your family doctor about your risk of lung cancer and discuss whether or not a CT Lung Cancer Screening is right for you. If your doctor thinks you are a good candidate for this screening, they can schedule you for an appointment by calling 319.272.7080.