Published on June 26, 2017

Lung cancer screening: A potentially lifesaving test

Are you a current or former longtime smoker?

If so, ask your doctor if you should be screened for lung cancer.

Lung screeningTypically, lung cancer doesn’t cause symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage, when it is more difficult to treat. But a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) chest scan can help detect lung cancer before it causes symptoms.

“The earlier you detect lung cancer, the better your chances of survival,” says Michele Zappile-Lucis, DPT, OCS, Administrative Director of Oncology at Mercy.

Screening may be recommended if you:

  • Are between the ages of 55 and 80.
  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years.
  • Have a smoking history of at least 30 pack years. (A pack year equals smoking 1 pack of cigarettes every day for a year.)

Getting screened could bring you peace of mind. And Medicare and most insurance plans cover screening.

Should your test turn up a suspicious result (such as a nodule in the lung), you may be advised to repeat the test after several months. Or you may be referred to the lung cancer program at Nazareth Hospital for evaluation and possibly a biopsy.