Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death among Americans, and roughly 85% of cases are linked to long-term smoking. But we have important news: Low-Dose Computed Tomography, or LDCT, is an annual screening exam that can catch lung cancer while it is still tiny and localized, before it causes symptoms. “Caught early, most lung cancer is highly treatable,” says radiologist Dr. Kerry Raduns. “That’s why we encourage current and former heavy smokers to get screened early, when the potential benefit is very high.”
Who’s Considered a Heavy Smoker?
People at the greatest risk of developing lung cancer have reached 30 “pack years,” which is the number of years you have smoked times the number of packs smoked per day. For example: 1 pack a day x 30 years or 2 packs a day x 15 years. Because lung cancer can lurk unnoticed for a long time, people who have quit smoking within the past 15 years may still be at risk. Other factors, like age and certain health conditions, can enhance this risk, so we invite you to visit www.raocala.com/services/low-dose-ct-screening for information and facts about LDCT screening to share with your doctor.
LDCT Vs. X-Ray
Unlike the limited views provided by a chest x-ray, LDCT captures multiple images from different angles to create a cross-sectional picture for easier, clearer examination. “LDCT’s remarkable detail reveals even the tiniest lung abnormalities,” says radiologist Dr. Brian Cartwright. “The clarity captures minute nodules that x-ray can miss.”
In fact, a randomized clinical trial of 53,000+ current and former heavy smokers revealed that LDCT is 20% more effective at preventing death from lung cancer. That means about 1 in 5 lives can be saved through early discovery using LDCT over x-ray.
“If you’re the one in five whose cancer was caught while it was still treatable, that is extremely significant,” says radiologist Dr. John Cain. “LDCT is noninvasive, painless, takes only minutes, and has up to 90% less ionizing radiation than conventional CT scanning.”
With a qualified clinician’s referral, LDCT screening is offered at RAO’s Medical Imaging Center and TimberRidge Imaging Center. It may be 100% covered by Medicare, so ask your healthcare provider if LDCT might be right for you.
It’s just a few painless minutes that could help save your life.