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Lung Cancer Screening

SampsonRMC's Outpatient Diagnostics Center offers patients with a high risk of developing lung cancer the opportunity to be screened for lung cancer and receive their diagnosis at an early stage, even before symptoms develop.  A low dose screening computerized tomography (known as CT or CAT) scan of the chest produces detailed images of the lungs and other structures located inside the chest.  The low dose scan exposes patients to less radiation than you would receive from a normal CT scan of the chest.  Individuals with high risk for lung cancer should have this screening added to their annual preventive health screenings.

High-Risk Patients Include

High-risk patients are individuals who meet the following risk factor: 

  • History of heavy smoking
  • Current smoker or within the last 15 years  
  • Patients age 55 to 80

Heavy smoking is defined as a smoking history of 30 "pack years" or more.  A "pack year" is the number of years smoked multiplied by the number of packs of cigarettes per day.  For example, an individual that smoked one pack a day for 30 years (1x30=30) or two packs a day for 15 years (2x15=30), would be defined as a heavy smoker.  

Early Detection is Key

Low dose cancer screenings can offer peace of mind.  Screenings, when used as part of your annual preventative health check-ups, allow your provider to see any abnormalities with your lungs before a patient presents with symptoms, most often catching the cancer in the early stages.

Low dose scans of the chest for high-risk patients are covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.  It is recommended that you check with your insurance provider for coverage details.  Medicare requires patients to be between the ages of 55 and 77 and will only cover the screening once every 12 months.

What if an abnormality is found on my screening?

Not all abnormalities found during a low dose cancer screening are diagnosed as early-stage cancer.  If the CT indicates an abnormality, results will be shared with your referring provider for additional follow-up.  Depending on its size, your provider may refer you for a diagnostic CT.  This will give your provider more information to determine the appropriate level of care.

Diagnostic CT is also provided at the Outpatient Diagnostics Center.  Our 64-slice CT is the only in the local area and provides dramatically detailed images of your lungs in just minutes.  Having the clearest diagnostic image is important in arming your doctor with the information needed for the early treatment of lung cancer.