What to Expect During a Lung Cancer Screening

lung image on a pc with a middle aged man in the background

A lung cancer screening is a preventative test that checks your lungs for any signs of disease before symptoms have occurred. The goal of lung cancer screenings are to prevent cancer and detect cancer in its earliest stages amongst people who are at a higher risk. For example, a lung cancer screening may be recommended if you are 55 to 80 years old, currently smoking, have a history of smoking or quit within the last 15 years. If you have been qualified as a candidate for a lung cancer screening, here’s what to expect during your screening.

1. 3-D Imaging of Your Lungs

A low dose computed tomography (LDCT) is the most recommended screening to detect lung cancer at an early and treatable stage. The LDCT scan uses specialized x-ray equipment to create 3-D images of your lungs. This allows your doctor to see a more detailed, cross-section picture to examine your lung tissue. Although this scan may expose you to a low dose of radiation, it uses 75% less radiation than a normal CT scan – showing more detail than a normal chest x-ray.

2. Fast and Painless Process

Lung cancer screenings are quick and painless! While you’re at your screening, your technician will have you remove any metal you are wearing and change into a gown before you go into the machine. You’ll lie on your back on a table, which will then move through the LDCT scanner. The machine will pass x-rays through the body, producing detailed images of your lungs. The entire LDCT scan takes less than 10 minutes to complete!

3. No Down-Time Required

You’ll be able to leave right after your lung cancer screening with no down-time required. There are no adverse effects reported after a screening, and you’re able to drive yourself home right after.

4. Most Patients Screened Do Not Have Lung Cancer

Although you may be anxious about your test results, it’s important to know that more than 75% of people who are screened come up negative for having lung cancer. Screenings are used to perform regular checks so you can stay on top of your health and detect any signs of disease before there are any symptoms. If a test does come up positive, there could be a chance that it’s a false alarm and require further testing, but stricter guidelines have been implemented to reduce the amount of false-positive results.

Lung Cancer Screenings Near You in MA & RI

At Southcoast Health, we are home to one of the top lung cancer screening programs in the country, saving tens of thousands of lives each year. Request to schedule a lung screening today or to see if you’re eligible by calling (855) 259-LUNG (5864).