Lung cancer, which is commonly caused by cigarette smoking, is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among both men and women worldwide. Symptoms often do not show up until cancer is advanced, when treatment options are limited.
In 2004, The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) compared low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) with a chest x-ray in the screening of current and former heavy smokers for lung cancer. The trial ended early in 2010 when the findings indicated a yearly low-dose CT scan of current and former heavy smokers could reduce the risk of lung cancer death by 20 percent.
Screenings for individuals at high risk has the potential to dramatically improve lung cancer survival rates by finding the disease at an earlier, more treatable stage.
Who Should be Screened?
Lung cancer screening is recommended for individuals who meet the following criteria:
- Age 50-80 years
- Current smoker or one who has quit within 15 years
- Tobacco smoking history of at least a 20 pack-years*
- No signs or symptoms of lung cancer
*20 pack-years is the equivalent of 1 pack per day for 20 years, or 2 packs a day for 10 years, etc.
In July 2020, the United States Preventative Service Task Force (USPSTF) released a draft of new recommended guidelines for lung cancer screening that expands the eligibility for screening to people as young as 50 (instead of the current minimum age of 55) with a 20 pack-year history of smoking (instead of the current 30 pack-year history). TriHealth has adopted the new recommended guidelines effective July 1, 2021.
Common Symptoms of Lung Cancer
- A cough that does not go away
- Chest pain, often made worse by deep breathing, coughing or laughing
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or weak
- Recurring infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
- New onset of wheezing
How is the Test Performed?
During the scan, you will lie on your back on a table that slowly slides through a large donut- shaped x-ray machine that captures multiple images of your chest.
You can expect your appointment to last about 15 minutes, though the scan itself takes only 15-20 seconds and is painless. No dyes or injections are required prior to screening, and you do not have to follow any special diet before your appointment.
When and How will I Get My Results?
After your scan, a radiologist will review and interpret your images. The results and recommendations are reviewed by the Screening Program Director and Nurse Practitioner and sent to the healthcare provider who ordered the test.
Are There Radiation Risks with Lung Cancer Screening?
We are exposed to radiation from natural sources all the time. The amount of radiation from a LDCT scan is close to the amount of radiation from one mammogram.
How Can I Receive a Lung Cancer Screening Test?
If you are interested in completing a lung cancer screening, you can discuss this with your healthcare provider to determine if it is appropriate for you or contact the lung cancer screening clinic at 513 865 1145.
Is Lung Cancer Screening Covered by Insurance?
Most private health plans, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, cover lung cancer screening. Contact your insurance company if you have questions regarding coverage.
Lung cancer screenings are available at the following locations:
- Bethesda Arrow Springs
- Bethesda Butler Hospital
- Bethesda North - Thomas Comprehensive Care Center
- Good Samaritan Hospital
- Good Samaritan Western Ridge
- McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital
- TriHealth Anderson
- TriHealth Evendale Hospital
- TriHealth Kenwood
For more information about lung cancer screening or to schedule a screening, call 513 865 1145.