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Certain groups eligible for low-dose CT scan for lung cancer

February 20, 2017 Cancer

Current smokers and certain non-smokers can breathe a bit easier knowing there’s an advanced screening technology—a low-dose CT scan—that can detect lung cancer early on. The scan involves the use of an X-ray beam to take images of the lungs from many different angles. The entire process takes only about 20 seconds, is painless, and requires no blood work or IV. You can expect to receive your results within 24 hours of screening.

CT scans to screen for lung cancer are not for everyone, particularly people who are at low risk for the disease. You may be eligible for lung cancer screening if you:

  • Are 55 to 80 years old
  • Are an active smoker or have quit in past 15 years
  • Have a history of smoking*

* Smoking history is defined as “30-pack years or more,” meaning one pack per day for 30 years or two packs for 15 years.

Screening, of course, is not a substitute for quitting smoking.

Lung cancer screening covered by many insurance plans

The screening is paid for by many insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid. Be sure to check with your own insurance company to determine whether you’ll have any out-of-pocket expenses. In most cases, the fees—if any—will be small.

Lung cancer kills 160,000 Americans every year and is often only discovered in the later stages, when it is difficult to treat. Early detection, before it spreads to other areas of the body, makes it is easier to treat and can save your life.

If you’re thinking about whether lung cancer screening is right for you, talk to your doctor first. You will need a prescription before you can get the screening.

When you’re ready to make an appointment, call 484.565.LUNG (484.565.5864) to speak to a lung health navigator at Main Line Health who will ask you additional questions and schedule a screening for you.