Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. More than 150,000 die each year from the disease. As with any cancer diagnosis, the earlier the detection and treatment, the better the results. Because lung cancer often has no symptoms in its early stages, a screening study is the best way to ensure the highest possible chance for a cure. Studies have found that screening high-risk individuals for lung cancer with a low-dose CT scan leads to 20 percent fewer deaths.
It comes down to age and risk factors. You should get the screening if:
These risk factors all increase the odds of developing lung cancer:
If you meet the screening criteria, you may schedule it at one of UPMC Pinnacle’s imaging locations. Talk to your insurance provider about your plan’s coverage. Ask about their requirements for lung cancer screenings.
For patients who may not meet the criteria, your primary care provider may determine one is necessary and write a prescription.
The actual screening process is simple. There is no contrast dye involved, so there are no injections or preparations. Individuals getting the screening will change into a gown and lie on the CT scanner table. The CT scanner makes a few rotations around the chest and the test is complete. We mail the results to the patient and the referring physician.
For a positive or concerning result, UPMC Pinnacle offers a multidisciplinary approach. It provides rapid evaluation and treatment of pulmonary nodules by a team of skilled specialists. These include thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists and interventional radiologists. This team works together to thoroughly evaluate each nodule. They then develop an individualized plan of care using the most advanced technologies.
It’s important to see your doctor if you notice any of the following lung cancer symptoms. Some of these can be caused by other ailments or health issues. So, a comprehensive check up with a specialist can put you on the right path.
Since lung cancer often doesn't show symptoms until the later stages, it can progress and spread to other parts of the body. Headaches, dizziness and balance problems, or numbness in the limbs may indicate the cancer has metastasized to the brain or spinal cord. Yellowing of the skin and eyes, also known as jaundice, could be a sign it has spread to the liver. Lumps on the body could mean the disease has spread to the skin or lymph nodes.
We do not want to scare you into thinking the worst, but rather to encourage preventive action and control of your own health.
Screenings are a solid diagnostic tool in uncovering the facts. And they’ll help you and your doctor deal with it head on. We have the technology and expertise to support you no matter what the result.
Please visit us online to see if a lung cancer screening is right for you.
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