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What should I expect?

An initial positive screening test does not necessarily mean you have lung cancer, as most growths are benign. However, if the radiologist detects a growth that raises concern, you may be asked to return for a diagnostic CT exam. In some instances you may be asked to return periodically to recheck a mass that is not suspicious to make sure that it remains unchanged. Charges for the diagnostic scan and for any additional tests that may be needed will usually be covered by insurance. If your scan is normal, you may wish to obtain a repeat study in one year.

Is it okay to continue smoking now that there is a screening test available?

No. Tobacco is one of the strongest cancer-causing agents. Tobacco use causes many different types of cancers, including lung cancer, as well as chronic lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases. The damage caused by smoking is cumulative and the longer a person smokes, the higher the risk of disease. Quitting smoking is hard, but there are many proven treatments that can help.

Who should get a low dose CT lung screening?

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that former smokers and smokers ages 55-74 with a 30+ pack-year smoking history have a low dose CT lung screening. Pack-year history is calculated by multiplying the number of years of smoking by the number of packs per day. Other candidates include individuals between 50 and 74 years of age with a 20+ pack-year smoking history or with risk factors such as asbestos exposure or a family history of lung cancer. Non-smokers concerned about their risks from environmental hazards, such as asbestos and radon gas, or who have health concerns, like obstructive airway disease, or who were exposed to substantial second-hand smoke, should consult their physician to see if they could benefit from this procedure.

How much radiation is used during the exam?

The dose is less than the amount of background radiation a person receives each year living at sea level. Your additional lifetime cancer risk at age 55 from the low dose CT screening is approximately 0.004 %, which is extremely low.

Where can I get the low dose CT screening? How do I make an appointment?

The study is available at all Atlantic Medical Imaging offices. All patients will need to obtain a referral for the low dose CT lung screening from their healthcare provider. To schedule an appointment please call us at: (609) 677-XRAY (9729).