Low Dose CT Scan Increases Detection of Small, Early Lung Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 228,000 lung cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States this year, accounting for 14 percent of all new cancers. The CLEAR (Chest Lung Evaluation and Resource) Clinic at Medical City Lewisville offers a specialized lung cancer screening program, utilizing low-dose CT technology to aid in the early detection of various lung cancers and improve the overall survival rate. Results from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) reveal that low-dose CT scans reduce the lung cancer mortality rate by 20 percent when compared to screening with a traditional chest x-ray.
“Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in both males and females in the U.S. Unfortunately, most cases of lung cancer (up to 75%) are currently detected in the late stages,” said Dr. Adekunle Adekola, a pulmonologist at Medical City Lewisville. “However, early diagnosis has been proven to significantly reduce mortality for lung cancer patients. CT scans produce better details of the lungs and variably leads to easier detection of potentially malignant nodules.”
The lung cancer screening program was developed based on guidelines set forth by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), which include recommendations for identifying high-risk populations, screening protocol, evaluation and follow-up course of actions. According to the NCCN guidelines, an essential goal is to identify the populations that are at a high risk for developing lung cancer.
High-risk individuals eligible for the lung cancer screening include current or former smokers, 55 years of age or older, who have smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes per day for at least 30 years. The screening is also available for individuals at least 50 years of age or older if they have smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for at least 20 years and have one additional risk factor, including cancer history, lung disease history, family history of lung cancer, radon exposure or occupational exposure.
The cost of a lung cancer screening is $250, which includes the CT scan and radiologist fee. This preventive screening is not currently reimbursed by health insurance, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. To find out if you qualify for a CT lung cancer screening and to schedule an appointment, please call the CLEAR Clinic at Medical City Lewisville at (972) 221-2247.