Lung Cancer Screening Hero

Lung Cancer Screening

What is Lung Cancer Screening?
Lung cancer screening is the process of looking for lung cancer using a low dose CT scan (LDCT) before symptoms occur and while the cancer is at an early stage. Some people have a higher chance of getting cancer due to various risk factors, making screening very important for these individuals.

In most cases, symptoms of lung cancer do not present themselves until late in the disease. The purpose of lung cancer screening is to diagnose cancer in the earliest stages. Finding lung cancer early provides you more options for treatment and increases your chance of survival.

Who is Eligible for Lung Cancer Screening?
To be eligible for lung cancer screening you MUST meet the following criteria:

  1. Age 50-80 years old
  2. 20 pack year history of smoking
    1. A pack year is a way of determining how many cigarettes a person has smoked during their lifetime; one pack year is equal to smoking 20 cigarettes, or one pack, every day for one year
    2. Pack years equal the number of years that you’ve smoked multiplied by the average number of packs per day
      1. Pack Year = (Number of years you’ve smoked) X (Average number of packs per day)
  3. Current smoker or former smoker if you’ve quit within the past 15 years
  4. No previous diagnosis of lung cancer
  5. No chest CT within the past 12 months

What is the Process of Getting Screened for Lung Cancer?
You will have an initial appointment with your primary care provider or pulmonologist (lung doctor) to determine your eligibility for lung cancer screening and have a shared decision-making conversation to discuss the risks and benefits of lung cancer screening. If you do not have a primary care provider or pulmonologist, we would be happy to schedule you with one of our providers at Saint Peter’s.

If you are eligible and agree to screening, the next step is a low dose CT scan (LDCT) in which images of your lungs are taken. This imaging takes minutes to complete. You will be instructed to lie still and briefly hold your breath. There are no needles or medications involved. You do not need to fast or even change clothes. Quick. Easy. Painless. Lifesaving.

One of our radiologists trained in interpretations of chest CT scans will interpret your results and the report will be sent to your pulmonologist. You will be notified of your results and follow up recommendations will be discussed with your provider.

How can I Decrease my Risk of Developing Lung Cancer?
The best way to decrease your risk of developing lung cancer is by quitting smoking. We can help! Visit our Tobacco Cessation page to learn more.

Cigarette smoking is the #1 risk factor for developing lung cancer. If the risk of cancer isn’t enough to make you stop- smoking is also linked to other lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and recurrent respiratory infections. 

While smoking causes the majority of lung cancers, environmental exposures play a role as well. It is important to protect yourself in the workplace and be aware of possible exposure risks at home, such as radon. 

For more information or for any questions, please contact Saint’s Peter’s Lung Health Program patient navigator, Robin Bergeron, PA-C, at 732-745-8600 ext. LUNG (5864). 

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