How much radiation is used in the screening CT scan?

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.

Why would I want to have a lung cancer screening CT?

If you are at risk of lung cancer, you may want to have low-dose CT scan that can help detect lung cancer at its earliest and most curable stage.  The best hope for curing lung cancer is finding it as early as possible.  The Early Lung Cancer Action Program (ELCAP research showed that annual CT screening can find 85% of lung cancers in their earliest, most curable stage (Lancet 1999; 354:99-105). A CT scan can detect tiny spots on your lungs (called ‘nodules’) that may indicate lung cancer in this early stage (New England Journal of Medicine 2006; 355: 1763-1771).  The ELCAP research result

Past lung cancer screening findings

Cure Rate Improves With Early Detection

One of the challenges of treating lung cancer has been due to the advancement and, often, spread of the cancer cells by the time it is detected. While survival rates of other forms of cancer have improved, the survival rates for lung cancer have not. In fact, more people die from lung cancer each year than that of breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. Because symptoms of lung cancer don't usually appear until the more advanced stages, diagnosis occurs too late for the cancer to be cured.

Quitting smoking

In working towards breaking the smoking addiction, one must keep in mind that smokers are dependent on tobacco for multiple reasons. Not only are they often addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes and cigars, but most people are also dealing with breaking free of the habits and psychological and emotional dependency which can be developed over a period of time from smoking.

Lung cancer testing and diagnosis

Lung cancer is one of the deadliest of all cancers and kills more people in one year than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. This is because by the time symptoms of lung cancer appear, the disease has reached advanced stages which are more difficult and sometimes impossible to cure. In the past, no screening method provided detection of lung cancer in the earliest, more treatable stages so that a sufficient number of the cancers could be cured.