What is Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening?
For lung cancer screening, individuals who have a high risk of developing lung cancer but no signs or symptoms of the disease can undergo Low-Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) scanning of the chest.
CT scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple, cross-sectional images or pictures of the inside of the body. Because CT scans are able to detect even very small nodules in the lung, LDCT of the chest is especially effective for diagnosing lung cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.
Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT has proven to reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer in patients at high risk.
Who Recommends This Screening?
The US preventative Services Task Force recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery. LDCT screening for lung cancer is also recommended by the NCCN, American Cancer Society, American College of Chest Physicians, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Thoracic Surgery, and the American Lung Association.
LDCT Lung Cancer Screening is covered by most commercial carriers and Medicare, but requirements vary by carrier. Medicare requires that the patient is between 55-77 years old, have no current symptoms of lung disease, have a tobacco smoking history of 30 pack-years, and be a current or former smoker who has quit within the last 15 years. If you need the formula for calculating pack-years, you can find it here: https://www.smokingpackyears.com/
Due to the insurance coverage requirements for LDCT Lung Cancer Screening, there is a special order form that needs to be filled out for the study. In an effort to make that process easier for you, we have created a fillable PDF version you can find by clicking the button at the bottom of the page. We are happy to provide you with materials on the study, its benefits and its requirements, so please let us know if you would be interested in that. We can also provide you with a resource for free smoking cessation materials.
Much like our mammogram screening program, individuals at risk should be screened every year. We hope you will encourage your high risk patients to consider beginning annual screening.
The CT program at The Radiology Clinic is accredited by the American College of Radiology.