Is A Lung Screening Right for You?

Symptoms of lung cancer usually do not appear until the disease is already at an advanced, non-curable stage. Even if lung cancer does cause symptoms, many people may mistake them for other problems, such as an infection or long-term effects from smoking, delaying the diagnosis. When lung cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, it is more easily treated and potentially curable. Research has shown a significant decrease in deaths when low-dose computed tomography (CT) tests, the only recommended screening test for lung cancer, are used as a screening tool for people at high risk for lung cancer. This test is available for patients who meet certain criteria and have specific risk factors. During the test, an X-ray machine scans the body and uses low doses of radiation to take detailed pictures of the lungs to find evidence of cancer.

American Cancer Society
Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines

  • 55 to 74 years old
  • In fairly good health (discussed further down)
  • Have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history (discussed above)
  • Are either still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years

Frequently Ask Questions

What is a screening?

A screening is looking for a disease before a person has any symptoms, which can help to and lung cancer in an early, more treatable stage. Based on research, if a group of 1000 people were screened once a year for 3 years, 3 fewer people in 1000 would die of lung cancer after 6 years. This means that, instead of 21 people, 18 people per 1000 would die of lung cancer.

Why not screen everyone?

There is no proof from research that it is best to screen everyone. Screening people who are not a thigh risk or who are very ill may cause more harm than good. False alarms can lead to more testing and risk of harm.

Are there any symptoms of lung cancer that I should watch for?

Contact your health care team if you notice any of the following:

  • Have a new cough that doesn’t go away
  • Notice a change in a chronic cough
  • Cough up blood, even a small amount
  • Develop a shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Lose weight without trying

Is there a cost for the screening?

Cost is covered by most insurance companies.

How is screening for lung cancer done?

We screen for lung cancer using a low-dose spiral CT (LDCT) scan. This LDCT scan gives a detailed picture of your lungs. You will go to the radiology (X-Ray) department for your LDCT scan. You will lie on a table and raise your arms above your head. Then the table will slide into the scanner. We will ask you to hold your breath for about 20 seconds during the scan.

How often should screening be done?

Based on current research, screening should be done once a year for as long as you meet the screening criteria. You should contact your family physician to discuss and to schedule all screenings.

Treating Lung Cancer with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery painlessly delivers precise beams of radiation to tumors and lesions, without requiring incisions, hospitalization, or long recovery time. It can serve as an effective lung cancer treatment and is an especially good option for patients with early stage lung cancer, complex tumors or patients who prefer a non-invasive way to treat their cancer.

Speak with one of our dedicated team members about how we can help today.

VA Choice Program

Louisville CyberKnife is now accepting patients through the Veteran's Choice program. Click on the button below to see if you are a candidate.

Speak with one of our dedicated team members about how we can help today.