Should You be Screened for Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Often the disease does not show symptoms until it has progressed to advanced stages, when it is difficult to treat and chances of survival decrease.

A low-radiation-dose CT scan can detect lung cancer at its earliest stages, making treatment both easier and more effective. Such screening is only appropriate for people who may be at higher risk for lung cancer due to their history of smoking.

Should You Be Screened?

People with a history of cigarette smoking have a high risk of lung cancer. In fact, tobacco use accounts for almost 90% of all lung cancers. The more cigarettes you smoke per day and the earlier you started smoking, the greater your risk of lung cancer.

Current guidelines recommend you have a series of lung cancer screenings if you meet the criteria in one of the following categories:

Category 1

  • ☐ You are between 55 and 77 years old, and
  • ☐ Are currently a smoker or have quit within the past 15 years, and
  • ☐ Have smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 30+ years

Category 2

  • ☐ You are between 50 and 77 years old, and
  • ☐ Have smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 20+ years, and
  • ☐ Currently, a smoker, or someone who has quit within the past 15 years, and
  • ☐ Have one of the following additional lung cancer risk factors. Check any that apply.
    • ☐ Exposure to radon, a radioactive gas that can exist in houses
    • ☐ Exposure to asbestos, especially if exposure occurred in the workplace
    • ☐ History of head and/or neck cancer
    • ☐ Exposure to cancer-causing agents in the environment, especially occupational exposure such as arsenic, chromium, nickel, cadmium, beryllium or silica
    • ☐ Lung scarring from certain types of pneumonia or a diagnosis of COPD
    • ☐ A first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, who has had lung cancer

If you checked all boxes in either category, the federal guidelines recommend you have a low-dose CT screening test.

Designated LCA Screening Center of Excellence

Lung Cancer Alliance Screening Center of Excellence badge Missouri Baptist’s Lung CT screening program has been named a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). Designated LCA Screening Centers of Excellence are committed to provide clear information based on current evidence on who is a candidate for lung cancer screening, and to comply with comprehensive standards based on best practices developed by professional organizations, such as the American College of Radiology (ACR), the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP) for controlling screening quality, radiation dose and diagnostic procedures within an experienced, multidisciplinary clinical setting.

A low-dose CT scan of the chest to screen for lung cancer is like a mammography screening for breast cancer. Both can detect cancer in its early stages and save lives. It is estimated that lung cancer deaths can be reduced by 20%, or up to 22,000 lives can be saved by this screen each year. 

Dedicated navigator.

From your first call, you will work with a Nurse Navigator dedicated to the lung cancer screening program. Your navigator will help you set up your appointments and answer any questions you might have.

How is the screening performed?

The screening test is performed with a low-radiation-dose spiral CT. The CT scanner rotates around your body, while you lie still on a table that passes through the center of the scanner. The CT scan provides detailed images of the inside of your body, made by a computer that combines the x-ray images taken from different angles.

How long does it take?

Each exam takes only a few minutes, and we strive to have you in and out in less than an hour.

How much will the screening cost?

Insurance companies may provide coverage to patients that meet the eligibility in Category 1. Check with your provider. You may be required to pay a deductible or co-insurance amount, which will be payable at the time of your test. 

How quickly will I receive my results?

We’ll call you with your results on the next business day.

What happens if the test finds an abnormality?

If an abnormality is found, it does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. Small nodules and other abnormalities are found in about 1 in 5 screening CT scans. Most of these do not turn out to be cancer. You may require additional testing (which is covered by most insurances). A MoBap team professional will discuss your next steps with you and answer any questions you may have.

What happens if cancer is found?

If cancer is found, your team will work with your primary care physician and you on a treatment plan. If you don’t have a primary care physician, our navigator can help you choose a provider.

Cancer Care at Missouri Baptist

You’ll want the very latest in treatment options, the best trained professionals including a team of top doctors, and the most advanced cancer-fighting technology. The Cancer Center at Missouri Baptist combines these critical components in a location designed by doctors, nurses and cancer patients. That’s because decades of experience have taught us that comfort and compassion are just as important as the science of medicine.

Schedule an Appointment

To set up an appointment for a lung cancer screening test, call 1-855-399-5864 and speak to our patient navigator to set up a lung screening CT exam. The navigator will guide you through the process and answer any questions you might have.

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