You are at risk if you are or have ever been a smoker. The risk increases with age, and with how much you have smoked in your lifetime. Other risk factors include exposure to environmental carcinogens, such as asbestos, or lung scarring.
Lung cancer results in more deaths in the United States than any other cancer; in fact, it accounts for more deaths than breast, cervix, colon, and prostate cancer combined. About 173,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer each year and about 164,000 die each year-that's almost 95%.
The actual CT scan takes only about 5 minutes in total (with set up and scanning time). You are only scanned for less than 20 seconds, while you hold your breath. The registration and interview with the Coordinator may add an additional 25-30 minutes to your visit. We recommend setting aside one hour of your schedule for this appointment, even though it is unlikely that the entire hour will be necessary.
The times will vary from site to site. Currently, most sites offer some evening and weekend appointment in addition to daytime slots.
The benefits of lung cancer screening CT scans are highest for those with significant lung cancer risk.
The I-ELCAP research has focused on patients at a high risk for lung cancer. Several factors contribute to lung cancer risk: age; smoking history; environmental exposure to carcinogens like asbestos, beryllium, uranium, or radon; and exposure to second hand smoke. The older you are, and the more you've smoked or been exposed to smoke and other carcinogens, the higher your risk will be.
A limited evaluation will be done. The radiologists are able to see heart size and can detect calcifications in the coronary arteries when present. It also can detect abnormal dilatations of the main blood vessels leading out of the heart. These results will be reported to your doctor.
Yes. Old or new pneumonia, tuberculosis, or emphysema may be detected.
A chest x-ray shows only two views of your chest (front and side), while a CT scan shows cross-sectional images all through your chest-from the very top of your lungs through the lung bases. Thus, tiny abnormalities (that could be early stage lung cancer) can be found which would never have been seen on a chest x-ray.