If you are a past or current smoker, you may be eligible to participate in the Lung Cancer Screening Program at Norton Thoracic Institute. This program involves the use of a type of imaging called low-dose computed tomography (CT) to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages, when a cure is most possible. Medicare and most insurance companies now cover this screening for people who meet certain criteria.
Low-dose CT screening for detection of lung cancer has been proven to save lives. In fact, the National Cancer Institute has shown that low-dose CT screening reduced lung cancer deaths by 20%. Another study estimated that early detection and treatment of lung cancer could save more than 70,000 lives every year in the United States.
Is a Lung Screening Right for You?
Lung cancer screening is appropriate only for those who are considered at high risk for lung cancer. You may be eligible if you:
- Are between 50 and 80 years old
- Have a 20-pack year smoking history - for instance, if you have smoked one pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for 15 years
- Currently smoke or have quit smoking within the last 15 years.
If you meet these qualifications, talk to your physician about getting a referral for a lung cancer screening. For more information about the program or to make a self-referral, call Norton Thoracic Institute at (602) 406-4000.
What to Expect at the Lung Cancer Screening Program
As a patient in the Norton Thoracic Institute Lung Cancer Screening Program, you will undergo a short and painless CT scan. Your scan will be checked by a radiologist and then reviewed by a team of physicians, including a thoracic radiologist, thoracic surgeon, cardiologist, pulmonologist, oncologist, internal medicine specialist, and infectious disease specialist.
These physicians will develop a report about your current status and any recommendations for needed medical care or follow-up. The report will be sent to your doctor. In addition, you will receive a call to go over these findings and recommendations. The good news is that most patients who are screened do not have lung cancer. Occasionally, a scan reveals another condition, such as valley fever or a lung nodule, which may require follow-up care.
If you are a smoker, you can take advantage of smoking-cessation counseling and assistance at the Lung Cancer Screening Program.