Lung Cancer Screening for High Risk Individuals

For the early detection of lung cancer in high risk individuals, The Medical Center offers a lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (CT). A low dose CT scan is a test which utilizes x-ray technology to scan the body. CT uses low doses of radiation to produce a series of detailed pictures of the lungs. Unlike traditional x-ray, CT can more accurately identify early stage cancer when it is most treatable.

Are you at high risk for lung cancer?

A recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests that adults who have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer but who are at high risk for developing lung cancer should be screened every year with low-dose CT. High risk is defined as people who meet the following criteria:

- Are 55 through 80 years old, and
- Have a history of heavy smoking, and
- Are either current smokers or who have quit within the past 15 years.

Heavy smoking is defined as a smoking history of 30 "pack years" or more. A "pack year" is smoking an average of one pack per day for one year. For example, someone is considered a heavy smoker if they smoke one pack per day for 30 years or smoke two packs per day for 15 years.

Adults who meet the criteria above should also be asymptomatic for lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the symptoms of lung cancer include:

- A cough that does not go away or gets worse
- Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
- Hoarseness
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or weak
- Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back
- New onset of wheezing

Lung Cancer Screening using Low-dose CT Scan

The cost of the screening is $125 and is currently not covered by insurance. Only individuals who meet the criteria should be screened using low-dose CT. To check eligibility for the screening, individuals can call The Medical Center at 270-745-1199 or 1-800-231-9621 or talk with their physician. Low-dose CT scans can be scheduled at The Medical Center in Bowling Green, Scottsville, or Franklin, or at Western Kentucky Diagnostic Imaging. A physician order is required for the screening.