Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and around 80 percent of those deaths are attributed to smoking. While causes of lung cancer can be varied, people at the highest risk of developing lung cancer are those with a history of smoking tobacco.
You should be screened for lung cancer if you meet all of the following risk factors:
- You are between 50 and 80 years old.
- Do not have any signs or symptoms (diagnostic testing is recommended for those with signs or symptoms).
- You've never had lung cancer.
- You currently smoke or quit less than 15 years ago.
- Are, or were, a heavy smoker (20 pack years minimum; i.e one pack per day for 20 years, or two packs per day for 10 years, or ½ pack per day for 40 years, etc).
If you meet all of the risk factors, ask your doctor for a referral to Renown's Lung Cancer Screening Program. You will have a consultation with a provider from our Lung Cancer Screening Program to review the risks, benefits and answer your questions about screening. Studies have proven that screening with CT scans every year, before symptoms may appear, catches lung cancer in its early stages and saves lives.
Low-Dose CT Scan
Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) has proven to find lung cancer at its earliest stages. This scan uses roughly a quarter of the radiation as a normal CT scan. During the screening, you will lie on your back with your hands above your head. Then, the technician will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds while they take a series of pictures. The whole process takes about 30 minutes, and you do not need to do anything special to prepare for the screening.