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Low-dose CT lung screening available in Arlington and Mount Vernon

November is Lung Cancer Awareness month, and low-dose CT lung screenings make it easy to catch symptoms of lung cancer early.

Low-dose CT lung screening available in Arlington and Mount Vernon

Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Early detection is a proven and successful strategy to reduce lung specific mortality. Low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening is able to detect lung nodules better than a chest X-ray and maintains a relatively low radiation exposure. If there are any nodules detected, recommendations for further procedures are made.

“Most of the time, lung cancer has no symptoms at all until the disease is very advanced,” said Thoracic Surgeon Richard Leone, MD, PhD, FACS. “CT scanning is the best way to identify early, treatable lung cancers. The newer CTs are amazingly good in finding tiny nodules.”

Low-dose CT screening, available at both Skagit Valley Hospital and Cascade Valley Hospital, is now covered by Medicare for high-risk patients ages 55 to 77.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends that healthy adults at high risk for lung cancer talk to their primary care provider about screening with low-dose CT.

Who should be screened?

  • Are you a current or former smoker between the ages of 55 and 74?
  • On average, did you smoke one pack per day for 30 years or two packs per day for 15 years?
  • Has it been less than 15 years since you quit smoking?
  • Has it been more than a year since your last CT scan?

How Does the Study Work?

The patient lies on the CT scanner and will slide in and out of the CT scanner. The scan itself takes about 30 seconds. There is no special preparation and no contrast is needed.

“It’s so important for people to know about the CT screenings,” said Robin Schultz, who was diagnosed with a lung issue that was not cancer, but did require surgery, after having a scan last spring. “It’s very quick and easy.”

For more information or for a referral for a low-dose CT screening, talk to your primary care provider.