NWH performs Low Dose Lung Cancer Screening (LDCT), which has been shown to detect lung cancer at an early stage when it is most treatable. NWH is certified as a Lung Cancer Screening site by the American College of Radiology.
A large study (National Lung Screening Trial) demonstrated a 20% decrease in death attributed to lung cancer in patients who received a LDCT. Individuals who have a high risk of developing lung cancer but NO symptoms of lung cancer are eligible for the exam if they fulfill the below criteria.
Before having this exam it is necessary to have a discussion with your physician regarding the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening (shared decision making). As with any screening test, false positives (the test is abnormal but no lung cancer is found) may occur and could lead to additional testing including biopsies. Not all cancers detected by LDCT will be found in the early stage of the disease and LDCT may not detect all cancers. Also there is a theoretical small risk of cancer from exposure to low dose radiation. Once in the screening program it is important to continue with annual screening as long as you still fulfill the below criteria.
Criteria for inclusion in the Low Dose Lung CT Cancer Screening program (LDCT) include:
- Patients who are age 55-77 (up to age 80 for some insurers) and are either current smokers or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
- Patients with a Tobacco smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” (an average of one pack i.e. 20 cigarettes a day for 30 years)
- Patients with no current symptoms of lung cancer
- Patients who are fit enough to undergo surgery or radiation if lung cancer is discovered at screening
- Patients who receive a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner that meets certain requirements of a shared decision making process.