You are at risk if you are or have ever been a smoker. The risk increases with age, and with how much you have smoked in your lifetime. Other risk factors include exposure to environmental carcinogens, such as asbestos, or lung scarring.
Lung cancer results in more deaths in the United States than any other cancer; in fact, it accounts for more deaths than breast, cervix, colon, and prostate cancer combined. About 173,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer each year and about 164,000 die each year-that's almost 95%.
The actual CT scan takes only about 5 minutes in total (with set up and scanning time). The scan itself only takes seconds. The registration and interview with the navigator/coordinator may add an additional 25-30 minutes to your visit. We recommend setting aside one hour of your schedule for this appointment, even though it is unlikely that the entire hour will be necessary.
The times will vary from site to site. Currently, most sites offer some evening and weekend appointment in addition to daytime slots.
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.