LDCT Lung Cancer ScreeningCall 828.452.8740
Stop Lung Cancer in its Tracks
If you are a smoker or a former smoker, a simple screening at Haywood Regional could save your life.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and 85 percent of cases occur in cigarette smokers. Studies show that lung CT scans using low doses of radiation can effectively detect lung cancer in its earliest stages and most importantly, lower your risk of dying from lung cancer.
What is LDCT lung cancer screening?
LDCT (low-dose computed tomography) works much like an x-ray exam to produce pictures of your chest and lungs. This high-quality lung screening detects lung abnormalities but with 90 percent less ionizing radiation than a conventional CT scan. If you have a high risk of lung cancer but no signs or symptoms, a LDCT screening could help you catch potentially cancerous spots at their earliest and most treatable stage.
You are considered high risk if you are:
- Between the ages of 50 and 77
- Have a smoking history of 20 pack years (1 pack per day for 20 years)
- Currently a smoker or have quit in the last 15 years
To read more about eligibility guidelines (and the recent expansion in the list above), click here.
Should I Be Screened?
Discuss your history and the benefits of screening with your doctor. Your doctor will help you decide if screening is right for you based on your age, smoking history, and other factors and will recommend a lung screening if necessary.
Ask yourself the following:
- Are you over the age of 50?
- Do you have a smoking history? (1 pack per day for 20 years)
- Do you currently smoke or have not quit smoking in the last 15 years?
If you answered yes, talk to your primary care provider about whether lung cancer screening is right for you. Even if you answered no, you could still be at risk. Talk to your doctor if you have a history of:
- Radon or occupational carcinogen exposure
- Family history of lung cancer
- COPD or pulmonary fibrosis
- Personal history of cancer or lymphoma
Initial Consultation and CT Scan
If you would like to undergo a LDCT lung screening, the first step is an appointment with your primary care provider. This appointment will be a time to discuss your age, smoking history and other factors in order for your physician to determine if you are eligible for screening. If you are eligible, your primary care provider will schedule your low-dose lung CT scan.
Follow-up: What happens next?
Your medical provider will call you soon after your screening to explain your results and discuss any additional necessary medical care. If the CT scan were to detect any potentially cancerous nodules, another screening may be needed after a few months to monitor your lungs’ conditions. Regardless of your results, annual screenings are recommended, as yearly low-dose CT scans have been shown to decrease mortality in patients who had increased risk due to smoking.
Is Screening Covered By My Insurance?
Medicare now covers the cost of low-dose CT screening for high risk patients. Many private health insurers provide coverage as well. Your physician will give you more specific details about eligibility and costs during your consultation. If you do not meet Medicare criteria or have private health coverage, Haywood Regional offers LDCT scans at a reduced Self Pay cost of $200.
A LDCT screening can detect lung cancer in its earliest stages, but it cannot prevent or cure disease. The only way to stop cancer before it starts is to stop smoking. If you think you may be ready to quit, talk to your primary care provider for guidance and helpful tips.
What are the benefits of low-dose lung screening?
- Capable of detecting very small but potentially cancerous cells at the earliest stage for the least invasive treatment.
- Screening can aid in reducing the risk of dying from lung cancer by 20%.