Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening

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 earliest stages.

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.

Ideal candidates 

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 yers 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
Phone: 912-466-1260
Fax: 912-466-1296
1111 Glynco Pkwy., Brunswick, GA 31525
Phone: 912-466-5620
Fax: 912-261-0342
Camden Campus
2000 Dan Proctor Dr. St. Marys, GA 31558
Phone: 912-576-6160

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.