Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening

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MacNeal Hospital is proud to offer a new screening tool for selected individuals who are at high risk for lung cancer. Please call 708-216-2065 for more information and to schedule your screening.

Early detection of lung cancer saves lives.

Detecting lung cancer early and having it surgically resected has shown to improve five year survival to greater than 70%. Using CT lung screening in high risk patients has shown to decrease cancer death by 20% according to the recently published National Lung Screening Trial.

Low dose, no contrast CT lung cancer screening

The low dose, no contrast lung cancer screening is performed using a low-dose technique which provides a low dose of the radiation of conventional CT of the chest. A screening CT is performed without intravenous contrast (no IV is required). The test takes less than 15 minutes.

Screening recommendations

CT screening is recommended for patients who meet the following criteria:

  • Smoker and former smokers (who have quit in the last 15 years) ages 55-74 years
  • Smoking history of at least 30 pack years* (also includes smokers of 20 pack years with a family history of lung cancer) *Pack years = Maximum number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the total number of years smoked
  • Exposure to asbestos

If you meet the above criteria, you should contact your health care provider about having a low-dose CT lung cancer screening.

How is a CT lung screening different from a diagnostic CT scan of the chest?

Low-dose screening CT is designed to supplement or replace routine chest X-rays. It is specifically designed to screen for pulmonary nodules, and is neither designed nor intended to screen for abnormalities elsewhere in the thorax (i.e. heart, aorta, lymph nodes, bones).

The test is specifically designed to rapidly screen the lungs using the least amount of radiation exposure. This allows detection of pulmonary nodules. No intravenous or oral contrast is used. Screening CT scans do not find all lung cancers.

Unlike a diagnostic CT, CT lung screening has been developed for asymptomatic patients and therefore most insurance companies may not reimburse for its cost.