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Lung Cancer Screening

There are over 200,000 new cases of lung cancer each year. The National Cancer Institute conducted a study called the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial which followed 53,450 patients age 55 to 74 years who had smoked at least a pack a day for 30 years (and ex-smokers who had stopped for less than 15 years). The study showed that screening smokers and ex-smokers with a chest CT scan increases their survival rate for lung cancer by 20%. 

Recognizing the effectiveness of this screening tool, along with proper follow-up, Milford Regional now offers CT screening tests for lung cancer.

What is a screening test?

Screening tests are important medical tests that can help protect against certain diseases. Some screening tests find diseases early, when they are most treatable, while others can actually play a role in stopping diseases before they start. Whether or not you should have the CT screening test for lung cancer will depend on your smoking history, along with your age, medical history and family history.

What is a CT scan?

A CT or CAT scan is an imaging exam that uses X-rays guided by a computer to take cross-sectional images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, organs, and blood vessels. CT scans are more detailed than standard X-rays.

How long will the procedure take?

The screening chest CT takes approximately 15 minutes to complete, including prep time.

Are there any safety concerns?

You’re briefly exposed to radiation during a CT scan. Radiation exposure can increase your risk of developing cancer, but doctors and other scientists believe that these CT scans give enough needed information to outweigh the risks. The screening chest CT uses less radiation than a standard CT scan of the chest.

Who is eligible for the screening test?

Patients who are at high risk may be eligible for the scan and should talk to their doctor about whether one should be scheduled.

Patients at high risk include those who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are 55 to 80 years old
  • Have a smoking history of 30 or more pack-years (pack years are the number of cigarette packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years a person has smoked).
  • Are currently smoking or who have quit within the last 15 years.

How do I access the screening CT scan?

Patients can access the lung screening CT scan ONLY with a referral from their doctor.

What about follow-up care?

The results of the scan and the radiologist’s report will be returned to you and your doctor so that you can discuss options for follow-up care together.

 

Lung Cancer Screening

Speak to your primary care physician to see if you fit the criteria for the lung cancer screening test.

A physician referral is required  prior to scheduling an appointment. Your doctor’s office will make the appointment for you.

Most insurances now cover the cost of this test.  Please check with your insurance company prior to your appointment to see if this test is covered.

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Pre-Registration

Patients should call to pre-register up to two weeks in advance for any scheduled surgery and out-patient appointment including most diagnostic tests, lab work and pre-operative testing. This eliminates the need to wait for an admissions representative upon arrival. Patients can go directly to their point of service. Admissions representatives are available to take calls from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Please call 508-422-2222.

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