Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States among both men and women. InHealth Imaging offers a Lung Cancer Screening Program that helps identify cancer before the patient starts to experience symptoms.  When a patient experiences symptoms, that means that the cancer is in later stages and is harder to treat.   The screening exam, low dose computed tomography (CT) is approved for patients who have a high-risk of developing lung cancer.  Studies have shown that having a yearly low dose CT can help reduce the risk of lung cancer death by 20%. And low dose lung CT can detect early cancer smaller than 1 cm through high resolution image reconstruction in 1 millimeter slices.  InHealth Imaging’s state-of-the-art technology is a Siemens Somatom Definition AS 64-Slice CT which provides 60% less radiation which makes it an exceptional tool in the diagnosis of lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Screening Program

InHealth Imaging has been designated a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and is the only certified center in Kitsap and Jefferson Counties. The ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center designation is a voluntary program that recognizes facilities that have committed to practice safe, effective diagnostic care for individuals at the highest risk for lung cancer.  In order to receive this elite designation, facilities must be accredited by the ACR in computed tomography in the chest module, as well as undergo rigorous assessment of its lung cancer screening protocol.

Who Should Be Screened For Lung Cancer?

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is now recommending an annual Lung Cancer Screening CT for individuals with no signs or symptoms of lung cancer who are between 55 and 80 years of age and have smoked a pack a day for 30 years or smoked two packs a day for 15 years or those who have smoked a pack a day for 20 years and are shipyard workers or have exposure to asbestos, radon or other reactive chemicals.

What Is The Lung Cancer Screening Process?

On the day of your exam, please arrive at our Main Office in Poulsbo 15 minutes prior to your scan.  Please allow 15 to 30 minutes for the exam process.  The actual scan itself will take less than 60 seconds and no medications or needles are used. You will be asked to lie still on a table and hold your breath for 10 seconds while the scan is taken of your chest.  The CT will take images from many angles and a computer will assemble them into a detailed picture.  There are no fasting requirements for the lung cancer screening.

After the exam, our radiologist will review your scans.  Our radiologist will then bring you into our reading room and show you your scans and go over your results with you.  You will receive a cd of your scans and your scans and results will be sent to your primary care physician.

What If A Nodule Is Discovered By The Screening?

If a nodule is found in your lungs, it does not necessarily mean that you have lung cancer.  Many people have benign or non-cancerous nodules.  If you do have nodules, you will be closely monitored in alignment with national screening guidelines.

If a nodule is found that is suspicious for cancer, we will work with your primary physician to ensure you see a lung specialist called a Pulmonologist.  Additional tests will be performed to determine if you have lung cancer.  These additional exams are usually covered by your health insurance.

What If No Nodules Are Discovered By The Screening?

It is recommended that you continue to receive annual scans until you no longer meet the high-risk criteria. This is important because even if you have a negative scan, it does not mean that you are no longer at risk for developing lung cancer.  It is important to receive follow-up care annually.

Remember:

  • Lung cancer claims more lives each year than colon, prostate, ovarian, lymph and breast cancers combined, because often it is discovered too late.
  • People who smoke have the greatest risk of lung cancer.
  • This risk increases with the length of time and number of cigarettes smoked.
  • If you quit smoking, even after smoking for many years, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer.