Risks associated with being screened include finding abnormalities that need additional tests and that are ultimately benign. These tests can cause anxiety and on some occasions lead to invasive procedures such as biopsy to further determine whether a finding is a cancer. The I-ELCAP protocol has been frequently updated with the latest knowledge and advances to keep these risks at a minimum. This should be discussed with your doctor for further information.
The benefits of lung cancer screening CT scans are highest for those with significant lung cancer risk.
ELCAP and its expanded research collaboration, the International ()I-ELCAP has focused on patients at a high risk for lung cancer. Several factors contribute to lung cancer risk. They are age; smoking history; environmental exposure to carcinogens like asbestos, beryllium, uranium, or radon; and exposure to second hand smoke. The older you are and the more you've smoked or been exposed to smoke and other carcinogens, the higher your risk.
A limited evaluation will be done. The radiologists are able to see heart size and can detect calcifications in the coronary arteries when present. It also can detect abnormal enlargements of the main blood vessels leading out of the heart. These results will be reported to your doctor.
Yes. Old or new pneumonia, tuberculosis, or emphysema may be detected.
A chest x-ray shows only two views of your chest (front and side), while a CT scan shows cross-sectional images all through your chest-from the very top of your lungs through the lung bottom. Thus, tiny abnormalities (that could be early stage lung cancer) can be found which would never have been seen on a chest x-ray.
In communities of color--which traditionally have limited access to health care information, diagnostic procedures, and medical treatment--lung cancer kills at disproportionately higher rates. The disease accounts for 25% of all cancers diagnosed in African American men; this is almost double the rate of lung cancer deaths for the overall US population. The lung cancer mortality rate for African American men is more 46% higher than that of white men. Cancer death rates among African American women are 20% higher than among white women.
Each participant, with guidance from the healthcare navigator, will be asked to fill out a confidential questionnaire on smoking habits and other relevant risk factors for lung cancer. This information is important to the radiologist reading the CT scan. The participant also signs a standard CT scan consent form. It reminds each participant to return for the next annual screening, one year after the prior screening. This is very important as it is these repeated annual screenings that truly save lives.
CT screening uses a lower dose compared to standard CT scans. We strive to keep the dose between 1-2 mSv (millisieverts) or lower, although for individual patients it may be slightly higher than this value. As a comparison, average background radiation in the US is approximately 3 mSv/ year and in Denver, Colorado, due to the higher altitude it is 11.8. Another comparison is that the exposure of a low-dose CT scan is less than a mammogram which is below 0.6 mSv.
Each institution charges for the screening CT scan, with most United States facilities charging between $100 and $400.