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What is a low-dose CT lung screening? Why is it recommended?

DoctorWhat is a low-dose CT lung screening test?

A low-dose CT lung screening is a scan that produces a 3-D image of the lungs. Computerized tomography (CT) screening uses special X-ray technology to obtain image data from different angles around the body and then uses computer processing of the information to show a cross section of body tissues and organs in 3-D.

Can I request a CT lung screening?

Yes. If you qualify for a lung cancer screening based on the criteria (see "Who qualifies for a CT lung screening?") from the National Cancer Institute, you can request a CT lung screening. Patients need a physician order to schedule an appointment.  Talk to your physician or medical specialist about lung cancer and ask for an order for a “CT lung screening”.  To ensure the correct test is completed, download a physician order form specifically for a CT lung screening and provide it to your physician.  If you need a physician, Summa can arrange a primary care physician for you.

How is a CT lung screening performed?

Low-dose CT lung screening is one of the easiest screening exams you can have. The actual test takes less than 10 seconds. No medications are given, and no needles are used. You can eat before and after the test. You don't even need to get changed as long as the clothing on your chest does not contain metal. You must, however, be able to hold your breath for at least six seconds while the chest scan is being taken.

Why is a low-dose CT scan being recommended to screen for lung cancer?

Summa Health System has introduced a low-dose CT lung scan that produces a 3-D image of the lungs. Quick and painless, a low-dose CT scan is one of the most effective ways to detect early-stage lung cancer when there are no symptoms. Now, individuals at risk for lung cancer can be screened and treated early, before there are symptoms.

What is the goal of a CT lung screening?

The goal of any cancer screening test is to detect cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Without low-dose lung screening, lung cancer is not usually found until a person develops symptoms. By then, the cancer is more difficult to treat.

How effective is a low-dose CT lung screening?

With the 2012 completion of the randomized National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), evidence shows that screening with low-dose CT lung scans can lower the risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent in people who are at high risk.

Who qualifies for a CT lung screening?

The National Cancer Institute’s screening recommendations are twofold:

  • Age 50 – 54: Individuals who have smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years and have one additional risk – radon exposure, occupational exposure, cancer history, family history of lung cancer, COPD or pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Age 55 – 74: Individuals who smoked at least one pack of cigarettes day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years as well as those who quit smoking during the past 15 years.

If you meet these prerequisites, you are eligible to participate in the Lung Cancer Screening Program.

What if you don’t fall into one of the criterion to be eligible for CT lung cancer screening?

Talk with your primary care physician if you don’t fit a criterion because of your age or tobacco use, but feel you may be at risk. Discussion should include risks and benefits as screening involves exposure to radiation.

Where can I go for CT lung screening?

Summa Health System offers the CT lung screening test at locations in Summit, Medina and Stark counties.

Does insurance cover the cost of a CT lung screening?

The CT lung cancer screening is relatively new, so insurance may not cover the cost. Summa Health System offers CT lung screenings for $99.

 

To schedule your CT lung screening call toll-free (888) 412-8818
Or request an appointment online any time. Our staff will contact you to confirm your appointment time, location, date and other details. Please remember to get a referral from your doctor.

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