A low-dose CT scan could help you find lung cancer early

A lung cancer screening using a CT (computed tomography) scan easy, painless, worth it and, for many, cheap.

A lung cancer screening using a CT (computed tomography) scan is:

  • Easy – The whole appointment can take less than 30 minutes.
  • Painless – You lie on a table that moves in and out of the scanner, which is like a big, roomy doughnut.
  • Cheap – Many plans cover the scan without a copay if you are high risk or over age 55.
  • Worth it – Early detection significantly increases the chance of beating cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky has the highest rate of lung cancer in the U.S. If you’re at risk, catching it early is critical.

Lung cancer symptoms don’t usually show until the disease has advanced. But if caught early, the chance of surviving five years improves from 11 percent to 55 percent, according to the American Lung Association.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?

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Even so, only 15 percent of people are diagnosed in the disease’s early stages.

What to do if you’re at risk

Talk to your health provider about getting a lung cancer screening with a low-dose lung CT scan.

A low-dose lung CT scan is a type of X-ray that takes multiple pictures as you lie on a table that slides in and out of the machine. A computer combines the images into a complete picture of your lungs. Because it is “low dose,” it uses a lower amount of radiation than a traditional chest CT.

Able to detect even the smallest tumors, the painless, quick scan takes just a few minutes. The whole appointment can take less than half an hour.

According to the American Lung Association, the initial scan can be covered without a copay if you are at high risk, between ages 55 and 80 and have private insurance, or are ages 55 to 77and have Medicare. You may have a copay if you go to a facility that is not in your health plan’s network. When you make your appointment, confirm that the facility and the providers are in your health plan’s network to avoid extra costs.

Norton Cancer Institute is home to specialists offering some of the most advanced treatments and therapies. Patients who are screened and have a suspicious finding are paired with an oncology-certified thoracic services nurse navigator. These patient navigators help ease stress and guide you through every phase of care, from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship.

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