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CT Scan

CT Low Dose Lung Screening for Early Detection of Lung Cancer

Clarksville Imaging Center is proud to announce that we are now offering CT Low Dose Lung Screening exams by appointment.

CT Low Dose Lung Screening

The purpose of a CT screening exam is to identify the presence of cancer, small lung nodules or tumors in an individual that does not demonstrate any signs or symptoms. In august of 2011, the National Cancer Institute released results from is National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), a randomized clinical trial that screened at-risk smokers with either low does CT or standard chest x-ray. The study found that screening individuals with low dose CT scans could reduce lung cancer mortality by 20 percent compared to chest x-ray as noted by the American Lung Association (ALA). This exam is generally not reimbursed by most medical insurance companies. There is a minimal charge to the patient requesting the exam.

American Lung Association Recommendations

  • The best way to prevent lung cancer caused by tobacco use is to never start smoking or to quit smoking.
  • Low-dose CT screening should be recommended for those people who meet NLST criteria:
    - Current or former smokers aged 55 to 74 years
    - A smoking history of at least 30 pack-years
    - No history of lung cancer
  • Individuals should not receive a chest X-ray for lung cancer screening
  • Low-dose CT screening should NOT be recommended for everyone
  • Patients should be referred to a facility that uses “best practices” for CT screening

Lung Cancer Screening: Is It Right for Me?

Screening for cancer means testing for cancer before there are any symptoms. Now there is a test that can reduce death from lung cancer through early detection. The test is not recommended for everyone and it has risks as well as benefits. Here is a discussion to help you decide.

Am I a candidate for lung cancer screening?

If you are:

  • a current or former smoker
  • and in the age group from 55 to 74 years
  • and with a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (this means 1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.) You are in the group at highest risk for lung cancer and screening for lung cancer is recommended for you.

Should I get a CT scan to screen for lung cancer?

Talk to your own doctor about getting a CT scan to screen for lung cancer. Screening for lung cancer may save your life. Discuss your complete health history and ask for a clear explanation about the possible benefits and risk. There are some risks and not everyone should be screened for lung cancer. Only low-dose CT scans are recommended for screening. Chest X-rays are not recommended for lung cancer screening.

What happens if I choose to get a CT scan for lung cancer?

There is some radiation risk with a CT scan and you may need to have additional tests and procedures. You should go to a hospital or screening center that has a team of experts who will clearly explain the procedure to you. The team should tell you about all the risks and benefits of the screening. The results will go to both you and your physician.

What does it cost to have a CT scan for lung cancer?

The cost is usually $150 to $300. Health insurance companies and Medicare may not cover the cost for a CT scan to screen for lung cancer at this time.

What do the results mean?

A “suspicious” result means that the CT scan shows something is abnormal. This could mean lung cancer. It could also mean some other condition. You may need to have additional procedures to find out exactly what is abnormal. If you do have lung cancer or some other condition, your doctor and the team of experts should discuss all possible treatment options with you.

A “negative” result means that there were no abnormal findings at this time on this CT scan. It does not mean you absolutely do not have lung cancer. It does not mean that you will never get lung cancer. Your doctor should discuss when and if you should be tested again.

Remember: The best way to prevent lung cancer is to never smoke or to stop smoking now. If you are still smoking, talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit smoking.

Please Call Clarksville Imaging Center at 931-245-OPEN to set up your appointment.