What is Low-Dose CT Scan Lung Cancer Screening?
Research has shown that lung cancer screening using a low-dose CT scan of the chest can reduce mortality from lung cancer by up to 20 percent for eligible, high-risk individuals. Since lung cancer typically shows no symptoms until the disease has spread, screening can help ensure early detection.
The scan takes about 10 minutes, and no needles or medicine is required. During the screening, a detailed 3-D picture of the lungs is created. While this scan will expose a patient to a low-dose of radiation, it is 75 percent less radiation than a traditional CT scan and shows more detail than a standard chest X-ray. A low-dose CT scan is the only method recommended for lung cancer screening.
The test serves the same purpose as a mammogram or colonoscopy, which are tests that can detect cancer at an early stage.
What are the Lung Cancer Screening Eligibility Requirements?
To be eligible for the UPMC Western Maryland Lung Cancer Screening Program, patients must:
- Be between 55-77 years of age (some commercial insurers cover until age 80; check with your insurance provider)
- Have at least a 30 pack-year history of smoking (one pack per day for a year is equivalent to one pack year)
- Be a current smoker or have quit within the past 15 years
- Not be in treatment for cancer
I think I am eligible. How do I get started?
A patient needs a referral from their primary care provider or another practitioner to have the Low Dose Lung Cancer Screening scan performed at the UPMC Western Maryland Lung Cancer Screening Center. Talk to your provider if you think you may benefit from screening.
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