Loma Linda University (LLU) Cancer Center is now offering lung cancer screening through a low dose chest CT scan.
The leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., and the second most common form of cancer in both men and women, lung cancer typically goes undetected until symptoms present, which is usually in the latter stages of the disease, according to Brian S. Furukawa, MD, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care at LLU School of Medicine.
“Not only can we now detect lung cancer at an early stage when it is curable, but with our multi-disciplinary approach our team can help patients modify his or her risk factors,” Furukawa said. “The most important thing you can do to decrease your risk of getting lung cancer is to quit smoking.”
CT, or computed tomography, is an imaging procedure that uses special X-ray equipment to create detailed pictures or scans of areas inside the body. CT images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels typically provide greater detail than traditional X-rays.
A recent study comparing yearly screening with a low dose chest CT versus chest X-ray showed a 20 percent reduction in mortality in patients at high risk for lung cancer.
Although getting a CT scan is relatively quick and easy, screening is an individual choice. The Lung Cancer Screening clinic educates patients on the risks and benefits of screening to help them make a decision on which is best for them. The clinic also works with patients to help them quit smoking. In addition, if a scan reveals a concerning finding, a multi-disciplinary team of specialists is ready to discuss the next best steps to take for further work up and a treatment plan if cancer is detected.
“There is a dedicated team to provide care at every level to our patients,” Furukawa said.
To learn more about low dose CT for lung cancer, or to see if you are eligible, visit lomalindalung.org or call 1-800-78-CANCER.