Low-dose CT can catch lung cancer early

Recent research has shown that low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans are more effective than standard X-rays in diagnosing early stage lung cancer — our state and nation’s top cancer killer.

Recent research has shown that low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans are more effective than standard X-rays in diagnosing early stage lung cancer — our state and nation’s top cancer killer.

“With lung cancer, by the time there are symptoms, the cancer is typically at an advanced stage,” said Jenny Frantz, R.N., thoracic services patient navigator and coordinator of the Norton Cancer Institute Lung CT Screening Program. “CT screening can spot lung cancer as small as a grain of rice — when it is most curable.”

Paula Schanding, 68, was a heavy smoker for more than 50 years. About 15 years ago she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Although her primary care physician, husband and children had encouraged her to quit smoking over the years, she finally succeeded in April 2012 after receiving the same advice from her dentist.

“I tried to stop smoking many times, but this time I was determined to break the habit,” Schanding said. “My physician and family were thrilled.”

What is your lung cancer risk?

Take a free risk assessment and see if you qualify for a lung CT screening. For more information about lung CT screenings at Norton Cancer Institute, call (502) 629-LUNG (5864).

Schanding’s primary care physician suggested she have a low-dose lung CT screening at Norton Cancer Institute because of her age, smoking history and COPD. A lung CT screening involves two short, precise scans, one for 10 seconds and one for 15 seconds, at a radiation level only slightly higher than a standard chest X-ray.

Schanding’s results showed a noncancerous pulmonary nodule, but no cancer. Knowing she does not have to worry about the threat of cancer, Schanding is back to enjoying gardening, maintaining rental properties and spending time with her husband, six grown children and 11 grandchildren.

“It was such a relief,” she said. “I will have a follow-up screening in six months.”

“The low-dose CT scan is the most promising early detection tool available for lung cancer,” said Amir H. Harandi, M.D., oncology/hematology. “It is primarily for people ages 55 to 74 who are at high risk for lung cancer because they have smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years, or a pack and a half a day for 15 years.”


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