Lung cancer is one of the deadliest of all cancers. According to the American
Cancer Society, it kills more people per year than breast, colon and prostate
cancers combined. A low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung screening can
detect cancer before a person displays any symptoms. This helps doctors
diagnose cancer at an early stage when treatment may be more effective.
With the advent of innovative screening technology, low-dose CT scans allow
for more accurate readings, detect smaller tumors and expose patients
to only a fraction of the radiation associated with a traditional CT Scan,
making low-dose CT scans ideal for regular diagnostics. Additionally,
these scans are more effective than a chest X-ray. In fact, research indicates
a 20 percent reduction in deaths from lung cancer among current or former
smokers who were screened using low-dose CT scans versus those screened
by a chest X-ray.
ACR designated lung cancer screening center
The Southeast Georgia Health System Brunswick and Camden campuses, as well
as MRI & Imaging located in the Summit Professional Plaza, are recognized
by the American College of Radiology (ACR) as designated Lung Cancer Screening
Centers, three of only 20 designated facilities in the entire state of
Georgia. In order to obtain this designation, the Heath System was required
to meet stringent national standards for diagnostic imaging and pass a
rigorous review process. The Health System is proud to have earned this
designation. Learn more about lung cancer screening by reading our article in
Healthy Partners - Sigh of Relief.
Importance of diagnostic screenings
Early detection is key to increasing chances of survival. If lung cancer
is detected in its late stages when the tumor has already spread to other
organs, the survival rate is substantially lower compared to early stage
lung cancer. Unfortunately, lung cancer is currently:
- the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States
- the second most diagnosed cancer among both men and women
- killing more than 150,000 people a year
- significantly lower in survival rates than breast, colon and prostate cancers;
less than 16 percent
These daunting statistics are largely due to the fact that traditional
CT scans weren’t ideal for regular diagnostic screening. The low-dose
CT lung screening offered at Southeast Georgia Health System is the most
advanced screening technology available, so high risk patients and ideal
candidates can determine their course of treatment at the disease’s
Expectations of a low-dose CT scan
A low-dose CT lung screening is performed by a radiologic technologist
specially trained in CT operation. The resulting pictures are interpreted
by a board-certified radiologist. At the time of the screening, you can
expect to wear a hospital gown and remove any jewelry that might interfere
with the scan. During the screening, you will lie on your back on a table
while a cylinder-shaped scanner rotates around your body. A low whirling
sound may emit from the scanner, and the table will move slightly during
the scan. Although you are usually alone in the room, the technologist
will watch you through an observation window and you will be able to talk
to him or her through an intercom.
The scan takes only a few seconds to obtain the lung images, but you should
allow 30 minutes for the entire appointment.
Results of your diagnostic screening
The results of your low-dose CT lung screening are sent to your doctor.
An abnormal CT scan could indicate lung cancer, but it could also indicate
a number of other less serious conditions that may warrant further testing.
Even if your scan is “negative,” meaning that nothing abnormal
was detected, it does not mean you absolutely do not have lung cancer
— nor does it mean you will never develop lung cancer in the future.
You and your doctor should discuss a schedule for re-screening at certain
intervals appropriate to you and your health.
If you are a current or former smoker and are curious about your lung health,
you should consider speaking to your doctor about having a low-dose CT
lung screening. Some people are more at risk to develop lung cancer than
others, and because some radiation risk exists with any CT scan, even
low-dose, this screening is not recommended for everyone. Consult with
your physician to clearly understand the risks and determine whether or
not a low-dose CT lung screening will benefit you.
In general, ideal candidates are:
- Ages 55-80, with no signs or symptoms of lung cancer and/or pulmonary disease
- Active or former smokers with 30-pack-year history (this means one pack
a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years, etc.)
- Former smokers who have quit within the last 15 years
You will need a physician’s order to have a low-dose CT lung screening.
You will also want to check with your health insurance company, as not
all carriers cover the screening cost.
Schedule a screening
Talk with your doctor to learn more about lung cancer screenings. To find
a physician, call 855-ASK-SGHS (855-275-7447) or click
Find A Provider.
Low-dose CT lung screening locations:
2415 Parkwood Dr. Brunswick, GA 31520
1111 Glynco Pkwy., Brunswick, GA 31525
2000 Dan Proctor Dr. St. Marys, GA 31558
Virtual Health Chat Webinar
“Lung Cancer Screening… is it right for you?”
Kenyon M. Meadows, M.D., board-certified radiation oncologist, Cancer Care
Centers, and vice chief, Department of Radiology presents, “Lung
Cancer Screening… is it right for you?” Dr. Meadows is an
active proponent of educating the community about risk factors that contribute
to cancer, the screenings that can help diagnose cancer in its earliest
stages and the advanced technology available to treat various cancers.