Lung Cancer Screening FAQ's
WHAT IS A LUNG CANCER SCREENING?
Screening for lung cancer includes a low-dose CT scan (also know as a CAT scan) and appropriate follow-up if any abnormal results are found. Current guidelines recommend a low dose CT lung cancer screening once a year for 3 years.
A CT scan, unlike a chest x-ray, can produce a 3-D image of the lungs, which provides greater clarity and reveals more details than regular x-ray exams. It is able to detect even very small nodules in the lung, which means that a CT scan is especially effective for diagnosing lung cancer at its earliest, most curable stage.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS TO TAKING THIS TEST?
Radiation exposure is the concern of most people undergoing a CT scan. Our high-definition, low-dose CT scans use less than 25% of the radiation used in a regular CT scan. The whole process takes less than ten minutes, and you do not need to do anything special to prepare for the screening.
HOW CAN I GET A LUNG CANCER SCREENING?
You must have a referral from your doctor for this screening.
DOES INSURANCE PAY FOR THE SCREENING?
Yes! Private insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid cover lung cancer screening.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE LUNG CANCER SCREENING FINDS SOMETHING?
One of our board-certified radiologists will review your screening CT scan. If something abnormal is found, we will notify your doctor. Your doctor will follow up with you about any further tests or next steps you might need to take.
Remember: not all abnormal findings are cancer. Other abnormalities, such as scarring or inflammation, can be detected. Your doctor may want to follow up with more tests or by watching these abnormalities closely. If you are a current smoker, a smoking cessation program will be recommended.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A DOCTOR?
If you do not currently have a doctor, visit our Find a Physician Section, or call 1-855-MH-DOCS1 (1-855-643-6271) and one can be recommended for you.
LUNG CANCER NURSE NAVIGATOR
If there is need for further follow up and evaluation, we are pleased to offer our Lung Nurse Navigator Program. The Lung Nurse Navigator Program was introduced at Middlesex Hospital in 2005 to help patients newly diagnosed with lung disease find their way through the complex maze of cancer care.
Our Lung Nurse Navigator is here to help to coordinate your care as well as to provide continued support, education and guidance to you and your family.
P. Renee Frost, BSN, RN, CCM
Lung Cancer Nurse Navigator