Breathe in. Breathe Out. In. Out. Do you feel your lungs expanding and contracting?
Your lungs’ main function is to exchange gas, allowing oxygen to enter your blood stream while releasing carbon dioxide. It’s important to keep your lungs healthy by avoiding pollutants and cigarettes. The longer you’re exposed to these toxins, the higher your chances are of developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. In 2018, an estimated 234,030 new cases of lung cancer were diagnosed, which is 13% of all cancer diagnoses. Smoking contributed to 85% of these new cases. Although statistics indicate that the rate of smoking continues to decrease, it is still estimated that over 30% of the population are current or former smokers.
If you feel you’re at high risk for potentially developing lung cancer, a screening for early detection will improve lung cancer survival rates.
Who should schedule a yearly screen for early detection of lung cancer?
- Adults between the age of 55-57
- Current or former smokers who have quit in the past 15 years with at least a 30-pack year history of smoking cigarettes (i.e., one pack a day for 30 years).
- Able and willing to undergo lung biopsy and/or surgery.
How do I schedule a CT screen for lung cancer?
- Discuss the test with your doctor and decide if you’re a candidate for a CT screen for lung cancer.
- Once your physician orders the test, the screen may be scheduled at any radiology center within the Ochsner Health Network.
- If you are a current smoker, you may also be offered an appointment with our smoking cessation specialists.
How much does it cost?
- CT screens are covered by most insurance plans.
When will I receive the results?
- You should receive your results from your doctor’s office within 48 hours of the test.
- You should also receive a letter from one of Ochsner Healthcare Network’s Lung cancer screen navigators.
If the results show nodules larger than 8mm, early lung cancer may be represented. Depending on the size of these nodules, radiologists and lung cancer specialists will give recommendations on the best way to manage and monitor these nodules. Strategies may include:
- Monitoring the nodules with additional CT scans over a two-year time period.
- Surgery to have it removed
Our founder Dr. Alton Ochsner was a pioneer in thoracic surgery – one of the first to link cigarette smoking to cancer. He left behind a rich legacy of discovery, innovation and exceptional patient care. Today, Ochsner is home to the lung cancer multi-disciplinary teams made up of nurses, surgeons, pulmonologists, oncologists and radiologists who are available to review your results with our lung screening navigators. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 1-866-624-7637.