What is a low dose CT lung screening?
Low dose CT lung screening (LDCT) is a screening tool which evaluates a patient’s lungs for any signs of cancer. This advanced CT scan provides a quick, painless examination of the lungs and is designed to detect small nodules (possible cancers) that may be present, but may not yet visible on a standard chest x-ray. Research suggests that early detection of these nodules may dramatically improve the survival rate of this cancer.
- A LDCT scan takes seconds to complete (one breath hold).
- LDCT follows similar protocol as a traditional chest CT, however the parameters have been minimized to reduce the radiation dose as much as possible while preserving image quality.
- No intravenous contrast is needed for this test, so blood work is not required.
Who should be screened for lung cancer?
Former smokers and current smokers ages 55-74 with at least a 30+ pack-year smoking history (pack-year history is calculated by multiplying the number of years smoking by the number of packs per day).
Former smokers and current smokers ages 50-54 with at least a 20+ pack-year smoking history with risk factors such as asbestos exposure or a family history of lung cancer.
How much radiation is used during the exam?
In an average sized person, the radiation dose will be approximately 1 mSv (millisieverts). To put this in perspective, most people will be exposed to 3-4x that in background radiation every year just living at sea level.