What is Lung Cancer Screening?
Lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Approximately 80-90% of those deaths are caused by cigarette smoking.* Patients who choose lung cancer screening are likely to be diagnosed at earlier stages than those who don’t get screened. Lung cancer is too often caught late and more difficult to treat when diagnosed at late stages. To find lung cancer early, when it when it is easier to treat, your doctor may talk to you about a screening called a low-dose CT (LDCT) for lung cancer. Screening with LDCT will not find all lung cancers, and not all of the cancers that are found will be found early. Talk to your doctor about whether lung cancer screening is beneficial for you based on your own individualized risk. A low-dose CT for lung cancer is a more detailed, painless CT scan of your chest that uses radiation at a low dose. It can show lung cancer at early stages that may be hard to see on an X-ray. It does not use any dyes or injections. It requires nothing to swallow by mouth. Once the scan has started, it takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.
*Percentage of Deaths Cause By Cigarette Smoking, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Why It’s Important to Choose a Lung Cancer Screening Center
Windsong Radiology was the first in the Buffalo area to be named a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology (ACR). This means we proudly perform high quality lung cancer screenings in Buffalo and Western New York, helping patients from across the region find cancer early. We also have other resources available such as program to help you quit smoking. See below to learn more.
Am I Eligible?
You are eligible for a lung cancer screening if you are between the ages of 50-80 in fairly good health (50-77 for Medicare) AND:
- Currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years AND
- Have at least a 20 pack-year smoking history
- To calculate your pack-year history, multiply the number of years you smoked by the number of packs of cigarettes per day
Update as of March 9th, 2021: The United States Preventive Services Task Force has issued an updated, final recommendation for CT lung cancer screening that lowers the starting age from 55 to 50 and adjusts smoking history from 30 pack-years to 20 pack-years.
- A detailed, painless CT scan of your chest that uses radiation at a low dose.
- Shows lung cancer at early stages that may be hard to see on an X-Ray.
- Requires you to lay flat on your back.
- It does not use any dyes, injection or anything to swallow by mouth.
- Once the scan has started, it takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.
- Depending on what type of health insurance plan you have, there may be no cost to you out of pocket because this exam is considered preventative.
- Talk to your health insurance before making your appointment to understand how much it will be for you.
- You can get a lung cancer screening if you:
- Are between the ages of 50-80 (50-77 for Medicare)
- Have no signs or symptoms of cancer AND
- You currently smoke and have smoked an average of (1) pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years smoking OR you have quit within the last 15 years.
- To calculate your pack-year history, multiply the number of years you smoked by the number of packs of cigarettes per day.
- Update as of March 9th, 2021: The United States Preventive Services Task Force has issued an updated, final recommendation for CT lung cancer screening that lowers the starting age from 55 to 50 and adjusts smoking history from 30 pack-years to 20 pack-years.
- Our lung patient navigators are your guides in the next steps of care. They ensure that you are in place for follow-up care, including your yearly screening appointment and can give recommendations on other resources and programs available.
- Our lung patient navigators or technologists will counsel you on the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening.
- Even if your exam comes back normal or clear, so long as you continue to meet the guidelines, it is recommended that you return yearly for lung cancer screening.
- Sometimes, you may have a spot on your low-dose CT that requires you to come back sooner. This does not mean you have lung cancer.
- Information on the NYS Quit Line Program- a program that has a call-in hotline, phone counseling and resources you will need to help you quit. Did you know that New Yorkers can get up to three months of nicotine gum free? Learn more here. https://nysmokefree.com/QuittingSmoking/GumGiveaway.
- Enrollment in Windsong’s Smoking Cessation Class (when available):
- It is not required that you are a patient of Windsong in order for you to register.
- This class is offered at our Spindrift Drive location only.
- To get the most benefit, it is important to attend each class one time per week for four weeks.
**Criteria published by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) for screening for lung cancer with LDCT
I have been going to Windsong Spindrift for all my imaging needs for 13 yrs.
In January 2016 I attended their smoking cessation program. I believe they saved my life. This program was very informative, supportive and actually fun. I was informed that most insurances pay for a yearly low dose chest CT and nicotine replacement products.
My chest CT revealed several nodes which are benign at this time. That was incentive enough for me to quit smoking. I am enjoying living in a nice smelling home, car and my clothes smell good too.
I encourage all smokers to attend this program and see if you can quit, it could save your life too.