Low-dose CT Scan Screening
Know Your Risk
According to the Texas Cancer Registry, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in over 20 East Texas counties. In the next year, it is estimated there will be over 1,000 new lung and bronchus cancer cases in East Texas, resulting in nearly 800 deaths. But, the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLCST) demonstrates that by utilizing low-dose screening CT scans of the chest more than 200 lives could be saved.
Early Detection is the Best Protection
Screening exams detect potential abnormalities earlier, which allow for quicker treatment and improved patient outcomes. The low-dose screening CT is recommended by the NLCST for high risk individuals:
- Age: 55 – 74 years
- More than 30 pack/year history of smoking and quit smoking less than 15 years ago
- Age: more than 50 years
- More than 20 pack/year history of smoking
Plus one additional risk factor
- Family history of lung cancer
- History of cancer
- Lung disease – COPD or pulmonary fibrosis
- Occupational exposure
- Radon exposure
About Low-dose Screening CT
An x-ray machine scans the body using low doses of radiation to capture a series of detailed images of the lungs with much higher resolution than a standard chest x-ray. Exposure to ionizing radiation carries some associated risks, so low-dose chest CT offers a radiation dose of 1.5-2mSV – approximately one-fourth that of a standard chest CT scan, and no contrast is used during the exam.
Schedule Your Screening
To schedule your low-dose screening CT, consult with your primary care provider to order the exam for you.
NOTE: Because insurance carriers do not currently cover the cost of this exam, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances offers all patients a nonrefundable cash price of $150, which includes all cost associated with the screening exam and physician fees. Payment is required at the time of service.
Before Your Screening
There is no special preparation needed for a low-dose screening CT.
Day of Your Screening
Expect your entire appointment to take approximately 30 minutes. At the time of your exam you will be assisted to complete a questionnaire, and then be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove items such as jewelry or glasses. Next, with assistance you will lie on your back on a narrow table that will slide into the center of the CT machine. The actual scan lasts less than one minute, during which you may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds to ensure a clear image of your lungs is captured.
Getting Your Screening Results
The images created from the scan are then sent to a radiologist for review at a later time and you will be contacted with your results within one week.
Nicotine: A Powerful Addiction
Cigarettes contain at least 43 distinct cancer-causing chemicals. Smoking is directly responsible for 87 percent of lung cancer cases and causes most cases of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking is also a major factor in coronary heart disease and stroke. Smoking may be causally related to malignancies in other parts of the body and it has been linked to a variety of other conditions and disorders, including slowed healing of wounds, infertility and peptic ulcer disease.
If you have tried to quit tobacco use, you know how hard it can be. Nicotine is a very addictive drug. Within seconds, nicotine travels to the brain and tells it to release chemicals that make you want to smoke even more.
Most people try two or three times or more before finally quitting tobacco use. Studies have shown that each time you try to quit you will be stronger and will know more about what helps and hinders your efforts.
Anyone can stop tobacco use regardless of age, health or lifestyle. The decision to quit and your ultimate success are greatly influenced by how much you want to stop.
What are the options?
Methods of controlling your addiction fall into the following two categories:
• Pharmacological approaches currently include two general strategies, nicotine replacement
and medication. These methods are available at your local pharmacy.
• Behavioral approaches range from very brief interventions to extensive programs conducted by specialized counselors.
Quitting tobacco use is regarded as a health-maintenance activity; therefore, your doctor will inform you of the intervention most appropriate for you.
Effects of Quitting Smoking
Blood pressure drops to a level close to that before you had your last cigarette. The temperature of your hands and feet increases to normal.
Carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal.
Your chance of a heart attack decreases.
2 weeks to 3 months
Circulation improves. Your lung function increases up to 30 percent.
1 to 9 months
Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease; cilia regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.
Your chance of having a heart attack is cut in half.
Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s five to fifteen years after quitting.
Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a continuing smoker’s; risks of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease.
Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.
Be sure and take a few minutes to take one of our Health Profiler Risk Assessments so you can learn more about your health risks. Risk assessments are available for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and vascular disease.