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Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality in this country, killing more than 161,000 people per year. The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) by National Cancer Institute (NCI) results show mortality benefit with low-dose CT, twenty percent fewer lung cancer deaths seen among those who were screened with low-dose spiral CT than with chest X-ray.

Using a CT Scan increases the detection of lung cancer at Stage 1 up to the rate of 85 percent. Lung cancer is often found when the tumor is relatively large, which results in treatment that may require more extensive surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy and less favorable outcomes when compared to detecting cancer earlier. By using low dose spiral computed tomography (Spiral CT), a special type of X-ray imaging more sensitive than routine chest X-rays, we anticipate finding more lung cancer cases at an earlier stage of growth and improving survival rates. Another benefit to low-dose radiation imaging is that the amount of radiation a person would receive is significantly reduced as compared to that of a standard-dose diagnostic CT.

Early Detection is the Key

Lung cancer is most treatable when identified in the earliest stages For high-risk patients, a low-dose CT scan is designed to look for signs of lung cancer even before symptoms are present. Using advanced medical imaging equipment known as a low-dose CT scanner, the MemorialCare radiology team can see a detailed “picture” of your lungs.

People who participate in this program first undergo an initial baseline screening CT. No intravenous contrast is given. The scan is generally done in 20-30 seconds. If no significant abnormalities are identified, an annual repeat screening CT is recommended. Occasionally, abnormalities are identified which require further workups with standard-dose CT X-rays, biopsy or surgery.

Early Lung Cancer CT Scan Screening Recommendations 

A lung cancer screening is recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force yearly for people who:

  • Are between 50 and 80 years old, and
  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
  • Have a history of heavy smoking (20 pack years or more).
    • pack year is smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year.

A lung cancer screening is recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services yearly for people who:

  • Are between 50 and 77 years old; and
  • Asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer); and
  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
  • Have a history of heavy smoking (20 pack years or more).
    • pack year is smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year.

If you have questions about a lung cancer screening or how to obtain a referral from your physician, contact our team of nurse navigators:

  • Long Beach Medical Center
    • Kathryn (Kitty) Campuzano
    • (562) 480-7747
  • Orange Coast Medical Center
    • Robin Philips
    • (714) 378-7650
  • Saddleback Medical Center
    • Sherri Hoag
    • (949) 452-7416

If you’re motivated to quit smoking, join us for a free 90-minute virtual orientation to learn more about classes that can help you quit nicotine. New sessions start every other month. Learn more.

Locations Offering CT Scan, Screening for Early Lung Cancer Detection