Low-Dose CT Screenings: A Vital Tool in the Fight Against Lung Cancer
Lung cancer remains one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide, making early detection and prevention strategies crucial for improving patient outcomes.
In Kentucky, the five-year survival rate (the percent of people alive five years after being diagnosed with lung cancer) is 20 percent, which is significantly lower than the national rate of 25 percent. It ranks 42nd among the 46 states with survival data.
Low-dose CT (LDCT) screenings have emerged as a powerful tool in identifying lung cancer at its earliest stages, offering patients a higher chance of successful treatment.
Currently, there are three screening methods for lung cancer: sputum cytology (looks for cancer cells in a patient’s sputum), standard chest x-ray, and low-dose CT scan. While all three methods detect signs of lung cancer, only studies on the low-dose CT scan show an actual reduction in the likelihood of death from the disease. Additionally, the low-dose CT scan poses less risk to the patient than the regular diagnostic chest CT because the radiation exposure is much lower.
Unlike some other cancers, patients with lung cancer typically only begin showing symptoms once the disease is in its later stages and has spread to other areas of the body.
When lung cancer is detected in its earliest stage, the survival rate is 55 percent; however, only 16 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed this early. For those found in later stages, the five-year survival rate drops to 4 percent. This is why early-detection lung screening, like low-dose CT, is so important.
While low-dose CT scan is an excellent screening tool, it is not recommended for everyone. Those who are candidates for this test must meet all of the following “high-risk” criteria:
If you think you are a candidate for this screening, it is important to note that some insurance plans may not cover this test. It is best to check with your insurance plan for coverage of the screening and for any additional procedures, as there may be other costs associated even if the actual screening is free. The American Lung Association offers a checklist of questions to ask your insurance provider when calling to inquire about the screening. Visit lung.org for more information.
Lung Cancer Prevention
While LDCT screenings play a vital role in early detection of lung cancer, the actual prevention of lung cancer is equally vital. Incorporating preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of developing lung cancer, especially among high-risk individuals.
As part of National Lung Cancer Screening Day, Rockcastle Regional is partnering with UK HealthCare’s Markey Cancer Center, as part of its affiliate network, to offer a weekend option for patients to get their LDCT screening, scheduled for Saturday, November 11 from 8:00am until 12:00pm.
To schedule your LDCT screening for Saturday, November 11, please call (606) 256-7880.