CT Lung Screening FAQ

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Our CT Lung Screening is accredited by the American College of Radiology.

What is a CT Lung Screening?

The CT Lung Screening is an exam that attempts to detect lung cancer in its earliest stage and when it is most treatable. It consists of a low dose, non-contrasted helical CT that uses X-rays to scan the entire chest in about five to ten seconds during a single breath hold.

Who should get a CT Lung Screening?

This exam is for patients that are at high risk for lung cancer. Typically, that includes former or current smokers ages 55-74 who have smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or more.

How often is this screening recommended?

The current recommendation is that, once you begin these screenings, you should continue to have follow-up screenings on an annual basis. Future guidelines may adjust the frequency and duration of recommended screening.

Is there a risk of a false positive result?

The vast majority of nodules, more than 90%, will turn out not to be cancer (false positive). The benefit is in that the true positive cases (about 34% of nodules) may provide early detection of a cancerous lung nodule, permitting early treatment and a greater chance of a cure..

What is the risk of radiation exposure from this exam?

We believe that, in a patient with an advanced smoking history, the risk of radiation is low compared to the benefit of early lung cancer detection. 

What are the criteria to be a candidate for this exam?

Screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT ha been proven to be of benefit in patients at high risk of developing lung cancer. Patients should be at least 55 years of age and have a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years. This is the equivalent of one pack per day for 30 years, or 2 packs per day for 15 years, etc.  

Has this test been proven to reduce mortality rates?

Yes. The national Lung Screening Trial demonstrated a reduction of 20% in the risk of dying from lung cancer, and an overall reduction in mortality by 7% (non-lung cancer disease).

Who interprets these screening exams?

One of our board-certified radiologists. Many hold additional fellowships in subspecialty areas of radiology. Referring physicians will receive lung screening results in 24 hours or less.

What if the lung screening results in incidental findings, such as adrenal, renal, or liver abnormalities?

Depending on the findings and the radiologist’s interpretation, further exams and evaluation could be recommended. If pre-authorization requirements are met (if needed), any follow-up procedures based on these diagnostic findings would be covered by most insurance plans.

In what way does this exam differ from a regular chest CT without contrast?

The technique of the study is adjusted to reduce the radiation dose. An IV is not required, and no contrast is administered.

Why screen for lung cancer?

Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in America claiming more lives than colorectal, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancer combined. Without early detection screening, over 95% of lung cancer patients eventually die from their lung cancer, usually within a few years of when they are diagnosed. Annual screening with CT scans can find lung cancers in their earliest stage, when up to 90% can be cured.

Suspicious nodules that may indicate lung cancer can be seen in a CT scan of the lung.

Suspicious nodules that may indicate lung cancer can be seen in a CT scan of the lung (above),
but not in an X-ray (below).

Suspicious nodules that may indicate lung cancer may not been seen in an X-ray.

Is a CT Lung Screening covered by insurance?

Unless an illness is already suspected, few insurers will pay for the screening. Patients wishing to get the CT Lung Screening should expect to pay $300 out of pocket at the time of service. If cancer is detected, the follow-up treatment should then be covered by their insurance. 

For more information regarding the CT screening for lung cancer, you can call toll free: 1-877-243-0563.

 

Quick Reference

Wake Forest Baptist Imaging

Phone 336-765-5722
Fax 336-765-5723
Billing 866-591-5559

265 Executive Park
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
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Last Updated: 11-18-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.