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The goal is to save lives. Without LDCT lung screening, lung cancer is
usually not found until a person develops symptoms, at which point the
cancer may already be far advanced and much harder to treat.
LDCT lung cancer screening is recommended for individuals aged 55 to 80 years who have smoked at least an average of 1 pack a day for 20 years (20
pack years). This also includes those who still smoke or have quit smoking
within the past 15 years. Note that individuals with symptoms of lung
cancer at the time of screening, such as unexplained weight loss, are not
Certain symptoms can be suggestive of lung conditions that should be
evaluated and treated, if necessary, by a healthcare provider. These
symptoms include fever, chest pain, a new or changing cough, shortness of
breath, coughing up blood, or unexplained weight loss. Having any of these
symptoms can affect the results of lung cancer screening and may actually
delay potential treatment.
The LDCT examination itself takes less than 10 seconds, and overall you
should be done within 10 minutes. No medications are given, and no needles
are used. You can eat and drink before and after the exam. You do not need
to change your clothes as long as the clothes on your chest do not contain
metal. You must be able to hold your breath for approximately 5 seconds
while the CT examination is being performed.
There are several risks and limitations of LDCT lung cancer screening.
These potential risks include:
: By using special techniques, the amount of radiation in LDCT lung
cancer screening is small, averaging the amount of radiation a person
would receive from living in the United States for 4 months.
False positive test result and additional testing
: LDCT lung cancer screening can show a “false positive” test result.
The patient may need to have more tests, which will be performed only
with permission of the patient and the referring physician. If the
patient needs a procedure, such as a biopsy, it can have potential side
Findings not related to lung cancer:
The LDCT lung cancer screening exam also captures images of body
regions close to the lungs such as the heart and the upper abdomen. In
a small percentage of cases, the CT examination will also detect an
“incidental finding.” This finding may not be serious; however, it may
need to be examined further. If applicable, the report of the
examination will include precise recommendations on how these findings
should be worked-up.
: The smoking history tab on OMR now
allows calculation of pack years but you must update
"smoking status" to see the calculator. If your patient
meets the age and pack-years criteria, you will see a
reminder on the patient’s front page.
New Order Entry via OMR
Complete Paper Order and fax to 617-667-5715