Lung CT Screening

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♪ [music] ♪

We are sharing important
health news with you.

Just like with mammography for breast
cancer screening and colonoscopy for colon

cancer screening, a new test has been
approved that can find and detect

lung cancer, which is the leading cause
of cancer death worldwide for both

men and women.

Research shows that screening
the right people can save lives.

Screening can find lung cancer at a much
earlier, treatable, and curable stage.

Lung cancer found in its earliest stage
can have up to a 90% chance of cure.

Because of your age and smoking history,
you are at higher risk of getting lung

cancer and qualify for the screening test.

The good news is this screening test
for lung cancer is quick and painless.

It requires no needles or dye.

Typically, your clothing can be left in
place and there's no need to limit eating

or drinking prior to the test.

Lung cancer screening takes about 10
minutes and the actual scan only takes

a few seconds.

Here's how it works.

A machine called a CT scanner takes 3D
X-ray pictures of your lungs using a small

amount of radiation,
also called low-dose CT.

This level of radiation is more than a
chest X-ray, but is much lower than other

types of CT scans.

Currently, this screening test is the only
one that can find lung cancer early, which

allows for more treatment
options to save lives.

As with all cancer screening,
this test is not perfect.

Some cancers may still be missed.

Some scans may show spots in the lung that
look suspicious but may not be cancerous.

These are called false positives.

Similar to moles on the skin, your
lungs may have nodules or spots that

are watched but are
normal or non-cancerous.

When needed, your doctor may recommend
additional testing to determine if

you have cancer.

Lung cancer can be aggressive and
advance quickly between stages.

This is why it is important to be
tested annually until you're out of the

recommended age range or for as
long as your doctor recommends.

Regular screenings will let your doctor
see if spots on your lungs are stable or

whether any changes over time
may be more suspicious for cancer.

Screening for lung cancer before
symptoms appear is important.

Without it, most people don't see signs
of the disease until it has spread to

other areas of the body
making it harder to treat.

If your have other health conditions
that increase your risk of lung cancer

such as diagnosis of COPD,
a family history of lung cancer,

or a job exposure to cancer-causing
agents like radon and asbestos,

tell your doctor and find out if a
low-dose CT scan is right for you.

Lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT
scan is recommended by leading advocacy,

government, and medical groups including
the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer,

federal government agencies,
the National Comprehensive Cancer Network,

and the American Cancer Society.

For individuals who meet the high risk
criteria, low-dose CT screening for lung

cancer is covered annually by Medicare
and most private insurance plans at 100%

with no out-of-pocket cost just like
mammograms and other screening tests.

However, additional testing and follow-up
scans between screenings may have a cost

such as a co-pay or deductible.

Ask your doctor if your
insurance covers the test.

If you smoke, it's still
important to consider quitting.

You might think it doesn't matter, but
there are many benefits to quitting.

Your health care team can
provide resources to help you.

Don't be afraid to ask your doctor or
call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for support.

Don't wait.

Talk to your doctor about low-dose
CT lung cancer screening and if it's

right for you.

It could save your life.

♪ [music] ♪

Made possible by GO2 Foundation for Lung
Cancer with support from Hilary Deskins,

Michael Gieske, Mary Pasquinelli,
and Douglas Wood.

♪ [music] ♪

Who Needs a Lung CT Screening?

If you fall into one of the categories considered high risk for developing lung cancer, your doctor will likely offer you a lung cancer screening. A lung cancer screening is also called a lung cancer test or lung cancer CT scan—with CT standing for computed tomography.

Those at highest risk include:

  • Older adults who have smoked—Smokers and former smokers who have reached 50 years of age usually get lung cancer screenings.
  • People who once smoked heavily but quit—The more heavily you have smoked for more years, the more at risk you are for developing lung cancer. 
  • People with a history of lung cancer—Lung cancer screening is recommended for people with previous lung cancer. If you had lung cancer five years ago or longer, you might want to request lung cancer screening.
  • People with other risk factors for lung cancer—You are more likely to develop lung cancer if you have a family history of the disease, were exposed to asbestos, or experienced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Preparing for a Lung CT Screening

Your doctor will explain how you can prepare for a lung cancer CT scan. Typically, this involves a conversation about your health and removing materials that can interfere with the lung cancer test.

When preparing for lung cancer screening, you may want to consider:

  • Talking to your doctor about your health—Inform your doctor of any symptoms or infections you may have recently experienced. Respiratory infections can interfere with the results of a CT scan. Abnormal results can require additional tests that you may want to avoid.
  • Removing materials that interfere with your test—Your doctor will likely ask you to remove any metals you may wear on your body that can impact the lung cancer test. These metals can include hearing aids, jewelry, dentures, or glasses. Clothing that includes metal buttons, clasps, or wires can also interfere with the scan.

Risks that can occur include:

There are risks involved with lung CT screening. 

Lung cancer test risks:

  • Radiation exposure—You will be exposed to a low level of radiation. The amount of radiation exposure is less with a lung cancer CT scan than exposure with other CT scans.
  • Follow-up tests—If your doctor identifies possible lung cancer, they will likely order additional tests that can include a biopsy or more exposure to radiation.
  • Discovering advanced cancer—Your doctor may discover late-stage cancer that is difficult to treat.
  • Discovering benign tumors—Your doctor may find slow-growing tumors that might never harm your health. Your doctor may still recommend that you remove the tumor, as it is difficult to predict which tumors will eventually grow and harm you.
  • Overlooking cancer—Lung cancer screening may not discover every cancer in your body. Some cancer is obscured or hidden, making it more difficult to find.
  • Identifying other health issues—During your test, your doctor may identify other health issues. For example, your doctor may see possible signs of additional heart or lung issues.

After a Lung CT Screening

A CT lung cancer screening is non-invasive and does not require much time from your day. After your lung cancer test, you can continue your day without any additional limitations or restrictions. An imaging specialist can easily review the images later to identify any concerning irregularities.

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Know Your Risk

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Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a major health issue in the United States. This quick lung cancer risk assessment can help you identify your lung cancer risk factors and determine if a lung cancer screening is recommended for you.