What is Lung Cancer Screening?
Our Lung Cancer Screening Program is designed to detect lung cancer early — when it is most curable — by screening and monitoring the people most likely to develop the disease, especially smokers. The program involves:
- Taking a focused medical history
- A physical examination
- A Low-dose CT scan (LDCT) of the chest
Our screening program focuses on people at high risk for developing lung cancer and involves a focused medical history, a physical examination and a low-dose CT scan. As a result, Roswell Park’s screening program diagnoses 70% of cancers at an early stage (stage 0, I and II), compared to current national trends that detect 70% of cancers at advanced stages (stage 3 or 4).
Low-Dose CT (LDCT)
This noninvasive scan, which does not require any contrast dye, can locate suspicious nodules or lesions in the lung better than traditional X-ray. With LDCT, the X-ray machine rotates around the patient, taking multiple images, which a computer reconstructs into a three-dimensional picture of the lungs. LDCT takes only seconds to obtain a detailed picture of the lungs and the radiation dose is less than the yearly exposure to background radiation in the environment.
Should I Be Screened for Lung Cancer?
Please contact us about lung cancer screening if you have:
- a history of cancer of the lung, esophagus, head, or neck, or
- the following three factors:
- aged 55 to 79
- have at least 30 pack/years of smoking
- was an active smoker within the last 15 years (even if you’ve quit)
What are Pack/Years?
_____ number of packs you smoke a day X _______ number of years you smoked = ______ Pack/Years
Example: If you smoked ½ pack a day x 40 years = 20 Pack/Years
Other risk factors will be considered when deciding if additional testing, such as bronchoscopy, is needed. These may include:
- Asbestos-related lung disease such as pulmonary asbestosis
- History of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) also known as emphysema
- Family history of lung cancer (parent, sibling or child)
- Profession with significant exposure noxious fumes, chemicals or smoke
Are you at High Risk?
Call to 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) to learn whether you should be screened. An information specialist will ask you a few questions about your health and smoking history. Primary care physicians can also refer patients to Roswell Park for risk assessment and screening.
Or, complete the Online Risk Assessment Form and one of our cancer information specialists with contact you.
Screening tests detect cancer’s hidden warning signs long before symptoms appear and when the disease is most treatable. Understand your screening needs and complete the cancer screening and prevention questionnaire to manage your cancer risk.
If your LDCT is normal, you will be scheduled to repeat the scan in one to three years depending on your risk factors. We can help enroll you in smoking cessation programs and other cancer prevention initiatives.
If lesions or nodules are found, you may undergo further tests and biopsy to determine whether it’s actually cancer, or have repeat CT scans at recommended intervals. These decisions are based on the size, character and number of nodules found.
Many nodules are not cancer. About 27% of high-risk individuals who are screened are found to have suspicious nodules, but only about 4% have cancer. These potential early cancers do require expert surveillance and periodic LDCT to monitor them for increasing size or other features that indicate a further action. In addition, you may be eligible to participate in clinical trials that focus on preventing lung cancer in people with early lung lesions.
Whether your screening shows small abnormal lesions or advanced disease, the lung cancer specialists at Roswell Park are here for you. We will arrange for any follow-up testing, biopsy or evaluation by our lung cancer care team.