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WakeMed Blogs

Are you at risk for developing lung cancer?

November 12, 2018

Unfortunately, when it comes to lung cancer, most people don’t have symptoms until the cancer has spread/already advanced. Early detection through a lung cancer CT screening exam could help save your life. At WakeMed, we make this potentially life-saving screening available to you.

CT Lung Cancer Screening Criteria

A computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan uses x-rays to produce detailed cross-sectional images of the lungs. It’s the preferred method for detecting lung cancer because it’s better than a regular x-ray at finding lung tumors and showing them clearly – moreso than a traditional chest X-ray.

If you fit the criteria listed below, you are likely to qualify and benefit from a low-dose CT Lung Cancer Screening. To learn more, talk with your primary care physician about the risks and benefits of this valuable screening tool if you…

  • Are between the ages of 55 and 77 years old
  • Are a current smoker or previous smoker who has quit within the past 15 years
  • Have a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (1 pack a day for 30 years, or 2 packs a day for 15 years)

Possible Signs/Symptoms of Lung Cancer

If you have any of the following symptoms, you are not a current candidate for lung cancer screening, but you should make an appointment with you doctor to discuss your symptoms.

  • New or changing cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse
  • Shortness of breath that you’ve never felt before
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Chest pain (that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing or laughing)
  • Infections such as bronchitis & pneumonia that don’t go away/keep coming back
  • Feeling tired/weak


Why Should I Get Screened?

If you are determined to be at high-risk for lung cancer, early detection can save your life and has been tied to significantly better outcomes/survival rates.

Unfortunately, 3 out of 4 patients with lung cancer have incurable, locally advanced or metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis, leading to poor survival rates.

When lung cancer is detected at its earliest stage and treated surgically, survival rates are around ten times better than those diagnosed with Stage IV disease.

How do I schedule the procedure?

A CT lung cancer screening requires a physician’s order. Therefore, you are encouraged to discuss the benefits of a lung cancer screening with your primary care physician. Once your physician has ordered the screening, you can schedule an appointment with your imaging provider of choice.

Schedule your lung cancer screening today by calling 919-350-LUNG (5864).