At Prisma Health, we encourage annual lung cancer screenings with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), which have been shown to save lives by finding lung cancer early. Without a screening, lung cancer usually is not found until a person develops symptoms, at which time the cancer is much harder to treat.
Lung cancer screenings are recommended for people ages 55-77 and who have smoked an average of at least one pack per day for 30 years and who are at high risk for lung cancer. This includes people who still smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.
Those who have symptoms of a lung condition at the time of screening, such as a new cough or shortness of breath, are not eligible. For additional information about lung cancer screening, please see our Frequently Asked Questions below.
Annual lung cancer screenings with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) have been shown to save lives by finding lung cancer early, when it is easier to treat. This FAQ answers many questions people typically have about LDCT lung cancer screenings. If you have additional questions, call 803-296-CARE (2273).
The goal of LDCT lung cancer screening is to save lives. Without a LDCT lung cancer screening, lung cancer usually is not found until a person develops symptoms. At that time, the cancer is much harder to treat.
LDCT lung cancer screenings are recommended for people who are at high risk for lung cancer, including those who are ages 55-77 and who have smoked an average of at least one pack per day for 30 years. This includes people who still smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Those who have symptoms of a lung condition at the time of screening, such as a new cough or shortness of breath, are not eligible.
Certain symptoms can be a sign you have a condition in your lungs that should be evaluated and treated by your health care provider. These symptoms include fever, chest pain, a new or changing cough, shortness of breath you have never felt before, coughing up blood, or unexplained weight loss. Having any of these symptoms can greatly affect the results of lung cancer screening and may actually delay the treatment you might need.
It depends. In some cases, a LDCT lung cancer screening will not be appropriate, such as when your doctor is already following your cancer with CT scan studies. Your doctor will help determine if LDCT lung cancer screening is right for you.
Yes, a LDCT lung cancer screening exam is recommended every year until you are 80.
One life was saved for every 320 high-risk people screened with LDCT over a two year period (three screens), resulting in a relative 20 percent lung cancer-specific mortality benefit versus annual chest radiography.
LDCT lung cancer screening is one of the easiest screening exams you can have. The exam takes less than 10 seconds. No medications are given, and no needles are used. You can eat before and after the exam. You do not even need to get changed as long as the clothing on your chest does not contain metal. You must, however, be able to hold your breath for at least six seconds while the chest scan is being taken.
There are several risks and limitations to LDCT lung cancer screenings. We want to make sure we have done a good job explaining these to you, so let us know if you have any questions.
Medicare covers lung cancer screening with LDCT once per year for Medicare beneficiaries who meet all of the criteria mentioned earlier on this page. Be sure to check with your insurance plan for the screening and to see what is covered if the results of the CT scan show that you should have additional procedures. If you have specific questions about whether your particular insurance plans cover any of the cost of the lung cancer screening CT, you should personally contact your individual insurance carrier BEFORE having the screening CT performed. If you need help understanding your insurance coverage and you are a Prisma Health team member, contact one of our patient financial counselors at 803-434-3834. Our patient financial counselors can help you understand your payment options.
About one out of four LDCT lung cancer screening exams will find something in the lung that may require additional imaging or evaluation. Most of the time these findings are lung nodules. Lung nodules are very small collections of tissue in the lung. These nodules are very common, and the vast majority – more than 97 percent – are not cancer (benign). Most are normal lymph nodes or small areas of scarring from past infections. Less commonly, lung nodules are cancer. If a small lung nodule is found to be cancer, the cancer can be cured more than 90 percent of the time. That is why we are screening you. To distinguish the large number of benign (noncancerous) nodules from the few nodules that are, in fact, cancer, we may need to get more images before your next yearly screening exam. If the nodule has suspicious features (for example, it is large, has an odd shape or grows over time), we will refer you to a specialist for further testing.
You will receive the results of your exam within one week. If you do not hear from us within one week, please call us at 803-296-3070.
Yes. Your health care provider will receive a copy of your results.
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop tobacco use. For help with quitting tobacco products, call CareCall at 803-296-CARE (2273). If you have already stopped using tobacco products, congratulations and keep it up!
Call 803-296-CARE (2273) to see if you qualify and to schedule your exam.
March 25, 2020