Lung Cancer Screening
Lung Cancer Screening Program
To schedule a lung cancer screening appointment, please call (951) 781-3672.
The Lung Cancer Screening Program at Pacific Pulmonary Medical Group offers high risk individuals the opportunity to test for and identify early lung cancers before symptoms develop. Our program aims to provide information about both the risks and benefits of screening, so patients who are referred to the program can make an informed decision about whether a screening is right for them.
Who should consider lung cancer screening?
- Adults between the ages of 55 and 74 who have smoked 30 or more pack years. (This is the number of years smoked multiplied by the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day. For example, one pack per day for 30 years equals 30 pack years.)
- Adults who have quit smoking less than 15 years prior to enrollment
- Adults 50 years or older who have smoked 20 or more pack years with additional risk factors such as history of cancer, family history of lung cancer, occupational exposure to carcinogens (ie. asbestos, diesel fumes), radon exposure, COPD, or pulmonary fibrosis
The screening chest CT scan is a unique test with lower doses of radiation than a regular CT scan. Since these scans are being performed on potentially normal individuals who are young, it is critical that this protocol is followed by the radiologists to minimize any potential harmful side effects of the scan.
The results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), published in 2011, showed that screening high-risk individuals with yearly low-dose CT scans can reduce the risk of lung cancer death by 20%.
Almost 25% of high risk patients have abnormalities on screening CT, but only 3-4% of these abnormalities are due to lung cancer. Many patients undergo unnecessary tests and invasive procedures for abnormalities that are not due to lung cancer.
Will my insurance cover this?
Medicare and most health insurance plans cover the cost of lung cancer screening for qualified individuals.
What happens at your appointment?
For high risk patients, low-dose CT screening is effective in reducing death from lung cancer. However, the process can be confusing and complicated. As pulmonary physicians specializing in lung cancer, we have the expertise and experience to guide you through this challenging process to obtain the best outcome.
During your appointment, you and your physician will meet to help you make an informed decision as to whether or not you should have a low dose CT. It is our goal that any decision you make is well informed and based on the best data available, and not based on fear or anxiety.