Low-dose CT lung cancer screening is a CT scan that uses X-rays and computer-assisted processing to image lung tissue in intricate detail. The exam can find small, potentially cancerous lung lesions at a very early stage at which they are much easier to treat successfully, compared to the more advanced stages at which lung cancer is typically found. CT Lung Screening allows for excellent visualization of the lungs, exceeding the capabilities of chest X-ray. It can detect nodules as small as several millimeters in size.
Lung cancer is the second leading cause of death, behind heart disease. Most lung cancer patients with advanced staging of the disease carry a 5-year survival rate of less than 1 in 5 (20%). However, with CT Lung Screening, pulmonary nodules can be detected early, and the 5-year survival rate is increased significantly (85-100%).
Lung Cancer Screening is recommended for current or former smokers ages 55–77 with at least 30 “pack years” of smoking history (one pack/day for 30 years, two packs/day for 15 years, etc.).
A physician’s order is required for the scan, ensuring that the results and any necessary follow-up care are discussed with the patient’s physician and, if appropriate, a specialist who treats pulmonary nodules.
CT Lung Cancer Screening is available in all five our ACR Lung Cancer Screening Centers of Excellence in Freehold, Marlboro, Monroe, Mercerville and Princeton.
What will the Lung Cancer Screening exam be like?
CT Lung Screening is performed on a fast spiral CT scanner by a certified CT technologist. There is no special preparation for this exam. This procedure uses less radiation than a conventional CT scan and is performed without any injections, needles or removal of clothing (provided that there are no metal snaps or zippers in the chest area). The CT scanner will take images of your lungs while you lie down on the imaging table and are asked to hold your breath for approximately 20 seconds at a time while images are taken. Your entire visit should last about 30 minutes.
Once the screening is complete, one of our Board Certified Radiologists will review your exam for pulmonary nodules and submit a report to your referring physician.