Lung cancer can be a silent killer. For many people, this disease doesn’t show symptoms until it has already spread, which makes successful treatment all the more challenging.
Visit the UPMC Lung Cancer Screening Program website.
That’s one reason why lung cancer remains the leading cause of a cancer death among both men and women. An estimated one in four cancer deaths is the result of lung cancer — more than those from breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined.
Early detection is key, particularly in people at high risk for lung cancer. To help identify lung cancer earlier in the process, you may undergo low-dose computerized tomography (CT) screening. This imaging test could help your doctor detect lung cancer before it spreads.
CT Scans for Lung Cancer
CT scans combine x-rays with computer processing to produce a series of cross-sectional images of the body.
Research suggests CT scans that use a low dose of radiation may help identify cancerous tumors at earlier stages.
In 2011, UPMC took part in a large landmark study that looked at the effect of low-dose CT screening on people at high risk for lung cancer. The study found that using a low-dose CT scan of the chest could help to reduce deaths from lung cancer by up to 20 percent in high-risk patients. These results were published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
The Right Choice? CT Lung Screening
Could low-dose CT lung screening be right for you? Doctors may recommend this test to people at high risk for lung cancer, including those who:
- Are between ages 55 and 77
- Have a 30-pack per year history of smoking
- Are current smokers or have quit within the last 15 years
- Aren’t currently being treated for cancer
This type of cancer screening requires a prescription. Your doctor can help determine whether you fit this criteria and whether low-dose CT lung cancer screening is right for you. You’ll also want to check with your insurance carrier to confirm that this type of test is covered.