Healthier Me: Catching Lung Cancer Early

Posted by Samantha Powell on June 5th, 2013 |

Are you worried you could have lung cancer? A new CT scan at Sanford health can help find tumors before you even have symptoms.

Lung cancer symptoms typically do not occur until the cancer is already advanced, so early detection is key when it comes to saving lives.

The scan looks like any other and is fairly fast. Using the technology, doctors can view the inside of your body in detail.

Doctors say screenings with x-rays are not as effective. In fact, new research shows CT scans reduce lung cancer mortality rates by 20% compared to x-ray screenings.

From Sanford Health:

Lung cancer: A leading cause of death

Lung cancer kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. With more than 155,000 deaths each year, it is the leading cause of cancer death in America. The recent National Lung Cancer Screening Trial found that screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT reduced lung cancer death by 20%. This is comparable to screening for breast cancer with mammograms.

What is a low-dose lung CT?

Computed tomography (CT) is an X-ray procedure used to see images of your body. A CT scan shows cross-sections, or slices of your body, like the slices in a loaf of bread. CT lets doctors see a single slice of the body, just as if you were taking a slice of bread out of a loaf.

Using this technology, doctors can view the inside of your body in detail. As with all radiographic machines, the CT scanner gives off radiation. A low-dose scan uses very little radiation. This means it has very little effect on your body. The screening is helpful in finding lung cancer before you notice any symptoms.

Low-dose lung CT at Sanford Health

Your doctor must refer you for the screening. Some people may need more tests and have more costs. A health care provider will arrange care for those who need more testing.

Who can have this screening?

  • Adults aged 50-74 years.
  • People with a heavy smoking history.
  • Current smokers.
  • Former smokers who have quit within the past 15 years

What does the screening cost?

  • $150
  • Payment is due at the time of the CT scan.
  • The scan is not covered by insurance at this time.
  • This fee includes the CT scan and study of the film by a radiologist


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