Low-Dose CT Scans
For early detection of lung cancer
The Methodist Lung/Thoracic Oncology Clinic is proud to offer lung cancer screenings, including the low-dose CT scan. The low-dose CT scan test is used to detect lung cancer at its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable.
Study results have shown that detecting lung cancer in the earliest stages through screenings has dramatically improved the survival rates of those diagnosed with the disease. Most people with early stages of lung cancer do not have any symptoms. This convenient test can identify patients who may be at risk and help them begin treatment long before symptoms would be evident.
The test is not recommended for everyone and it has risks as well as benefits. If you are eligible, you will be encouraged to have annual screening.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I eligible for lung cancer screening?
You are eligible for screening if:
- You are age 55-77 years of age
- You are asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
- You are a current or former smoker who has quit in the last 15 years
- You have a smoking history of at least 30 pack-year history (means 1 pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.)
- You receive a written order for a low-dose CT scan from your medical provider after a shared decision-making visit
Should I have a CT scan to screen for lung cancer?
If you are in the high-risk group described above, you should talk to your doctor about lung cancer screening. Only low-dose CT (LDCT) scans are recommended for screening. Chest x-rays are not recommended for lung cancer screening. If you are not in the high-risk group, you may still be eligible for screening through a clinical trial. For more information, contact the Methodist Lung/Thoracic Oncology Clinic at (402) 354-5858.
Are there any risks involved with LDCT?
Risks associated with being screened include finding abnormalities that need additional testing and that are ultimately benign (false positive). These tests can cause anxiety and on some occasions lead to invasive procedures such as biopsy to further determine whether a finding is cancer.
No test is perfect; it is possible to have a medical condition, including lung cancer, which is not found during your exam (false negative). LDCT uses radiation to create images of your lungs. The amount of radiation is small and similar to a mammogram. You should have your test at a hospital that has a team of experts who will clearly explain the procedure to you. They should tell you about the risks and benefits of screening, what the results mean and how they will follow-up with you after the initial screening. Methodist has been designated by the Lung Cancer Alliance as a screening center of excellence.
How will I benefit from a low-dose lung cancer screening CT?
The test itself only takes a couple of minutes for a scan of both lungs. The benefits of lung cancer screening CT scans are highest for those with significant lung cancer risk. You will learn if you have any suspicious findings for lung cancer. Lung cancer that is caught early is more likely to be treatable and cured. Screening can also help research that will lead to improved ways of detecting lung cancer in the future.
What is the cost of LDCT?
Most insurance companies and Medicare cover the cost of screening. Please contact your insurance company to see if you are covered. If you schedule a screening CT scan, Methodist will confirm coverage.
What can I expect from the results?
You will be notified of your results within one week. It is very common to have lung nodules identified on your scan. Lung nodules are very small collections of tissue in the lung. The majority of nodules, more than 97%, are not cancerous (benign). Most are normal lymph nodes or small areas of scarring from past infections. Less commonly, lung nodules are cancerous. If a small lung nodule is found to be a cancerous, the cancer can be cured more than 80% of the time. This is why screening is so important.
To determine if the nodule is benign or cancerous we many need to get more images before your next yearly screening exam. If the nodule is suspicious for cancer, we will refer you to a specialist for further testing. Your primary care physician will receive a copy of the results and recommendations.
If you think you may qualify and wish to have a screening CT of the lungs, please call (402) 354-5858 to schedule your test.
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking. For help on quitting smoking, please call Methodist QuitSmart (402) 354-5237.
Awards and Accreditations
Lung Cancer Screening Excellence
Methodist is designated by the Lung Cancer Alliance as a Screening Center of Excellence.
Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center
Lung Cancer Clinic
8303 Dodge Street
Omaha, NE 68114