According to the World Heath Organization, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer related deaths in the world. If caught at an early stage, the five year survival rate is about 61%. Unfortunately, by the time lung cancer shows symptoms, it is usually in stages 3 or 4. Once the cancer has spread to other areas of the body such as the brain, bones, liver, or other lung, the survival rate drops to 6%.
While this information sounds bleak, the good news is that technology has provided us a way of catching lung cancer at an early stage: Low Dose Lung Cancer Screening. Using low dose CT (Cat Scan), we can screen patients and potentially catch lung cancer at Stage 1 or 2 before it has spread to other areas of the body.
More good news! This study is covered by Medicare, as well as many other major insurance carriers for patients who meet certain criteria. This includes patients who:
- Age 50 – 77 years;
- Asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer);
- Tobacco smoking history of at least 20 pack-years (one pack-year = smoking one pack per day for one year; 1 pack = 20 cigarettes);
- Current smoker or one who has quit smoking within the last 15 years; and
- Receive an order for lung cancer screening with LDCT.
*Pack history is based off number of packs per day smoked multiplied by number of years of smoking. For example, smoking 3 packs per day for 10 years would be a 30 pack-year smoking history.
Patients who wish to have a Low Dose Lung Cancer Screening should speak with their doctor. This session should include shared information and decision making to decide if a Low Dose Lung Screening is appropriate. The provider will also review smoking cessation, comorbidities, and treatment options if lung disease is found.
If you have any questions, or if your doctor has provided you with an order for Low Dose Lung Screening, please contact our office today in Rockville at 301-217-0500 to schedule your appointment.