Screening for those at high risk for lung cancer is incredibly important. Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer in the United States. Recognizing that most cases of lung cancer occur with no symptoms and, when detected early, over 80% of lung cancer deaths could be prevented, Vancouver Radiologists now offers low dose CT lung cancer screening. Additionally, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently rated low dose CT Lung Screening with a Grade B – which means they recommend annual low-dose CT screening for high-risk individuals. “This USPSTF recommendation and expanded use of CT lung cancer screening in high-risk patients represents a landmark step in the battle against the nation’s No. 1 cancer killer,” commented Dr. Paul Ellenbogen, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors.
Who Should Be Screened
A screening exam is intended for individuals who are not currently experiencing any symptoms. The purpose of this exam is to identify cancer in its earliest stages when it is most treatable. People who are ages 55-79 and who have a minimum smoking history of one pack a day for 30 years (or 10,950 packs total), who are also currently smoking or have quit within the last 15 years are candidates for CT lung screening.
Why should we screen these patients for lung cancer?
In the United States, 37% of adults are current or former smokers and 85% of lung cancer deaths occur in people who have a significant smoking history. Due to the fact that increasing age and cumulative exposure to tobacco smoke are the two factors most strongly associated with the occurrence of lung cancer it is well advised that these patients be screened. It is known that lung cancer has a poor prognosis, and nearly 90% of persons with lung cancer die of the disease. Early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has a better prognosis and can be treated with surgical resection.
Why should we use low-dose computed tomography (LDCT)?
Low-dose CT is currently the only recommended screening test for lung cancer. Chest x-ray and sputum cytology have not been found to have adequate sensitivity or specificity as screening tests. “Today the tide has turned in our battle against lung cancer,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, president and CEO of the screening advocacy group Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). “We can and will save tens of thousands of lives. We can and will continue to ensure adherence to the proven best practices to guide the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of lung cancer. We can and will use this to accelerate research into all aspects of lung cancer.”
Scheduling an appointment
If you fit the criteria outlined above and wish to schedule your $99 CT Lung Screening exam, call (360)254-4914.