4 things you should know about your lung cancer screening results and follow-up

You've taken positive steps toward your health and received a lung cancer screening. Now what?

You took a big step and scheduled your lung cancer screening. To your surprise, the low-dose computed tomography scan, or CT scan, was fast and painless. Can getting answers to questions about your results be just as fast and painless?

Norton Cancer Institute’s dedicated lung screening nurse navigator will contact you to discuss your results. She’s also available to answer questions you may have. Here are four common questions she gets about lung screening results and follow-up.

Is it normal for the scan to find pulmonary nodules?

You should not be overly concerned if your report indicates you have small, noncalcified pulmonary nodules. Most people who meet eligibility for screening will have some. A majority of these nodules are benign. However, the only way to know if it is cancer is to monitor these nodules over a period of time for changes or growth.

Comprehensive lung cancer care

If you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer, you want to start treatment right away. We offer same-day appointments for newly diagnosed patients.

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My scan is normal; why do I need to be followed?

You are considered at high risk for developing lung cancer based on your age and smoking history. This risk does not change based on one normal finding. It is recommended that you continue with yearly screenings until:

  • You reach age 78
  • You have been a nonsmoker for more than 15 years
  • You develop a health problem that makes you unwilling or unable to have surgery if lung cancer is found

Related Content: Program provides comprehensive lung cancer treatment

Why are repeat screenings necessary?

The CT scan is sensitive to most nodules, even when very small. These nodules often are so small there is no way of knowing if it is a lung cancer. The follow-up exam is important to see any changes or growth over time, which could indicate early lung cancer. To screen effectively for lung cancer, an annual follow-up CT typically is recommended; however, a follow-up CT may be advised sooner for some nodules. This does not mean the nodule is lung cancer. It means you have a nodule that needs closer monitoring due to size.

I currently smoke and want to quit. What resources are available?

Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health. In addition to damaging the lungs, tobacco smoke also injures many other parts of the body, such as blood vessels and the heart. As a smoker, your risk of death from heart attack or emphysema continues to increase even if your CT scan does not show lung cancer.

Related Content: Why smoking is a risk factor for heart disease

Quitting smoking is hard, and there is no way to quit without a lot of work. The best approach is one that addresses the physical, social and behavioral aspects of smoking. Talk with your doctor and call (502) 629-1234 to learn more about how Norton Healthcare can help you become a nonsmoker.


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