How a Lung Cancer CT Scan Can Benefit Smokers

September 30, 2020 – 2 min read

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A person undergoing a low-dose CT lung cancer screening, a test that may catch cancer early, when it is easier to treat.

How a Lung Cancer CT Scan Can Benefit Smokers

Lung cancer accounts for the second-highest number of cancer cases and causes more deaths than any other form of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. The longer lung cancer goes undetected, the tougher it is to defeat. Early detection of lung cancer is possible, however, with a low-dose CT lung screening. If you’re a current or former smoker, learn why you may want to schedule an appointment for a lung cancer CT scan at an American Health Imaging (AHI) center near you.

How Do I Know if I Have Lung Cancer?

Most people with lung cancer don’t experience symptoms until the disease has reached an advanced stage. When present, symptoms may include persistent coughing, chest pain, fatigue, difficulty breathing and wheezing. By then, however, the disease is much more difficult to treat. If you experience lung cancer-like symptoms, a complete diagnostic workup with a physician, which may include imaging tests and a biopsy, can determine whether you have the disease.

Can a Lung Cancer CT Scan Detect Early Signs of Cancer?

A lung cancer CT scan can find potential early signs of lung cancer, even if you’re not experiencing symptoms. A yearly, low-dose CT screening for lung cancer is recommended for people ages 55 to 80 who smoke or quit within the past 15 years, and have smoked for at least 30 pack years (an average of one pack of cigarettes daily for 30 years or two packs daily for 15 years).

What Can a Lung Cancer CT Scan Show?

A low-dose CT screening can find small growths in the lungs called nodules that could be cancerous, although most aren’t. If any nodules are present, your physician may order additional imaging or a biopsy to learn more about them. If a cancerous nodule is found early, it may give you and your medical team more treatment options that are less invasive. Early detection may also increase your chances of successful treatment.

Quick, Safe and Painless

As its name suggests, a low-dose CT screening uses less radiation than a conventional CT scan. You won’t have to receive contrast material, and the exam is noninvasive and takes just minutes.

Potentially Lifesaving and Cost-Effective

If you meet the criteria for a low-dose CT screening, that means you have a higher risk for lung cancer. However, undergoing an annual scan, which can help catch the disease early, can reduce your risk of dying from the disease, the ACS reports. Finding lung cancer early doesn’t just mean it’s easier to treat—it can also prevent the need for potentially lengthy, expensive treatment later if the disease were to be diagnosed at an advanced stage. Want to estimate how much your CT scan at AHI will cost? Use our cost calculator.

Learn what to expect from a chest CT scan and how it can help detect potential signs of lung cancer.