What are the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening
- Because CT scans are able to detect even very small nodules in the lung, Low-Dose CT (LDCT) of the chest is specially effective for diagnosing lung cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.
- CT is fast, which is important for patients who have trouble holding their breath.
- CT Scanning is painless and noninvasive.
- X-rays used in LDTC of the chest scans have no immediate side effects.
- Low-Dose CT scans of the chest products images of sufficient quality to detect many lung disease and abnormalities using up to 90 percent less ionizing radiation than a conventional chest CT scan
- Lung cancer screening with LDTC has been proven to reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer in patients at high risk.
- Lung cancer found by screening with LDCT is often at an earlier stage of disease.
- When cancer is found with screening, patients can more often undergo minimally invasive surgery and have less lung tissue removed.
- False positive results occur when a test appears to be abnormal but no lung cancer is found. Abnormal findings may require more testing, such as additional CT scans or PET/CT, to determine whether or not cancer is present. A more invasive test in which a sample of lung tissue is removed (biopsy) may also be warranted in certain circumstances.
- Test results that appear to be normal even when lung cancer is present are called false-negative results. A person who receives a false-negative test may delay seeking medical care.
- Not all of the cancers detected by LDCT will be found in the early stages of the disease. Screening that detects lung cancer may not improve your health or help you live longer if the disease has already spread beyond the lungs to other places of the body.
- LDCT lung screening and all other screening exams can lead to the detection and treatment of cancer which may never harmed you. This can result in unnecessary treatment, complications, and cost.
- Health insurance companies may not cover the cost of a LDCT scan to screen for lung cancer.