The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to recommend masks, social distancing, screening and other precautions for settings like hospitals and health care clinics. For everyone’s safety, all individuals within our facilities will be required to wear a well-fitting face mask.
Detecting lung cancer at an early and treatable stage has been shown to improve your survival.
Lung cancer screening consists of an imaging exam called a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan. The low-dose radiation is less than one-fourth the radiation of a regular CT scan. There are no injections and intravenous contrast is not needed. To get the maximum benefit of early detection, it is recommended that yearly exams be completed until you no longer qualify.
The low-dose CT scan can find even the tiniest of lung nodules long before they cause symptoms. The low-dose CT scan can also find: emphysema, coronary artery calcium (risk of heart attack) and other lung and heart conditions, such as lung scar tissue or an enlarged heart. Finding these health issues early may help you address them before they become more serious.
Lung Cancer Screening Risks
In two of every 10 people, screening will find a minor abnormality, but most of these are nothing to worry about. A small number of people will need further testing or procedures to confirm this. These tests may require more time and expense. Occasionally, a biopsy is needed. Radiation exposure from our advanced CT technology is a very small health risk for people older than 55.
Is Lung Cancer Screening Right for You?
Your Froedtert & MCW provider must evaluate you and provide a referral for lung cancer screening. If you think you may be a candidate for screening, please talk about it with your Froedtert & MCW provider. We can help you find a Froedtert & MCW provider, if you need one.
To be eligible for lung cancer screening, you must have certain high-risk factors. You may be eligible if you:
- Are 50 – 77 years old.
- Are a current smoker or a former smoker who has quit in the past 15 years.
- Have a history of at least 20 pack years of smoking.
Online tobacco pack-year calculators, such as smokingpackyears.com, can help you make an accurate calculation, or ask your doctor for help.
You are not eligible for lung cancer screening if you:
- Use oxygen on a continuous basis.
- Received cancer treatment within the last two years.
- Have signs and symptoms of lung cancer (such as weight loss or coughing up blood).
- Have been treated for pneumonia in the past three months.
- Have had a diagnostic chest CT scan in the past 12 months.
Lung Cancer Screening Results
Your screening results will be sent to you and to your referring physician. If the screening results show an area of concern, we will assist you in getting expert care with our specialists in pulmonary medicine, thoracic surgery, or preventive cardiology.
When you have your lung cancer screening, it may be reassuring to know the radiologists who analyze your results are board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists in chest imaging and are recognized for their expertise.
The American College of Radiology (ACR) has designated Froedtert Hospital as an accredited lung cancer screening center. The ACR has also recognized Froedtert Hospital as a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence – the first organization in the Midwest and eighth in the nation to achieve this honor.
Additionally, Froedtert Hospital is recognized by the Lung Cancer Alliance as a Screening Center of Excellence for its ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening carried out with the highest attention to patient safety and eligibility. Froedtert Hospital complies with national best practice standards for screening quality, radiation dose and providing diagnostic procedures within an experienced multidisciplinary clinical setting.
Learn more about our state-of-the-art radiology imaging techniques and minimally invasive procedures.
Insurance Coverage for Lung Cancer Screening
Check with your insurance provider before having the low-dose CT scan. Medicare and Medicaid may cover the cost of lung cancer screening as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. Medicaid may cover the screening cost with pre-authorization. If you are not sure if you are eligible, ask your health care provider.
Virtual Visits Are Available
Safe and convenient virtual visits by video let you get the care you need via a mobile device, tablet or computer wherever you are. We’ll gather your medical records for you and get our experts’ input so we can offer treatment options without an in-person visit. To schedule a virtual visit, call 1-866-680-0505.
Cancer and the COVID-19 Vaccine
There is currently no data that suggests current or former cancer patients should avoid getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Cancer can weaken your immune system, so we recommend that most patients get the vaccine as soon as possible.