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Frequently Asked Questions

A lung cancer screening with low-dose CT takes pictures of the lungs to look for potentially cancerous spots. CT images are better at finding abnormalities than a traditional chest X-ray. The amount of radiation received during a low-dose CT lung cancer screening is less than the amount received annually from naturally occurring radiation that's present in the environment. Menorah Medical Center offers state-of-the-art imaging services and is accredited by the American College of Radiology.

A key to successful treatment of lung cancer is early detection of the disease. As of December 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT in adults over the age of 55 who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. The primary purpose of this lung cancer screening is to detect and diagnose lung cancer at an early stage in order to improve treatment options and effectiveness. The images acquired are reviewed for the presence of lung nodules, masses or other abnormalities suspicious for lung cancer. If you are 55 years of age or older and have smoked the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years, your risk for lung cancer is high enough to be screened.

This screening program is for patients 55 years of age or older who have smoked at least the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years with no history of cancer and who do not have symptoms of lung cancer identified by a doctor. Screenings remain an individual decision that should be discussed with a healthcare provider who can assist you in weighing the risks and benefits of the screening.

A CT scan can potentially pick up spots in the lungs that are ultimately revealed to be not cancerous, but their presence may lead to anxiety about the findings. The process to determine if these spots are benign or malignant can include additional procedures to help diagnose the findings and, in a small percentage of cases, may involve surgeries that would otherwise not be recommended. Also, the small dose of radiation from the exam poses a small and negligible risk of causing cancer.

Currently, a low-dose CT lung cancer screening is an out-of-pocket expense that is not covered by most health insurance carriers. However, this may change in the future as more clinical trials prove the effectiveness of low-dose CT screening in decreasing cancer mortality rates. Menorah Medical Center offers a discounted rate because we want this life saving service to be affordable to a maximum number of people.

During your screening you will be lying flat on the CT table while the scanner rotates around you, gathering images of the inside of your lungs. The CT images provide the radiologist with detailed information that will be used to detect and diagnose disease. The entire screening typically requires a single breath hold and is usually completed in less than ten seconds.

A Menorah Medical Center radiologist will interpret the exam and provide the results to your ordering physician.