Screening increases the chance of diagnosing lung cancer at an early stage when it is more treatable. Screening can also lead to identification of other treatable tobacco-related disease such as emphysema and heart disease.
The only screening test proven to effectively reduce death from lung cancer is a high resolution computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest. The scan captures images of the entire chest cavity during a single breath.
The ultra low-dose
used at City of Hope for lung cancer screening uses far less radiation than standard CT scans, and is slightly higher than the radiation dose used in a standard mammogram. We use some of the most advanced equipment and techniques to enable the lowest radiation dose for your CT scan. For those at high risk for lung cancer, the value of screening far outweighs the minimal risks of radiation.
Individuals aged 55 to 80 who are current or former smokers with a history of at least 30 pack years of smoking. A pack year is considered the equivalent of smoking a pack a day for a year, so 30 pack years can equal someone with a pack-a-day habit for 30 years, two-pack-a-day habit for 15 years, three-pack-a-day habit for 10 years and so forth.
Approximately 15 percent of all lung cancer screens will identify a lung nodule that requires follow up, but 90 percent of those will be benign and will not require treatment. If the screen is positive, an appointment will be made with the program nurse practitioner, under the supervision of a thoracic or pulmonary physician, to discuss the findings and any additional testing that may be necessary.
If the screen is negative, a repeat scan should be repeated in one year.
Screening should be performed as part of a multidisciplinary program in order to minimize unnecessary tests and maximize patient safety. The Lung Cancer Alliance designates Screening Centers of Excellence
Currently, most insurance companies do not cover lung cancer screening. Our team of financial services specialists will work with you to identify your coverage and discuss payment plans. Current patients should ask their primary physician for a referral to the Lung Cancer Screening Program, or call 626-218-9410 to speak with someone from the Lung Cancer Screening Program.