Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Lung Cancer Screening important?
Lung Cancer screening is important, since early stage lung cancer often has no symptoms. A recent clinical trial has found that lung cancer screening with low-radiation dose CT scans significantly lowers the risk of dying from lung cancer by 20%, because it is discovered earlier.
Screening for lung cancer is not a one-time test, but a process that involves a periodic evaluation of your lungs over time to look for newly emerging cancer. The capability of CT scans to detect tiny lung nodules and to compare the nodules for changes in size over time is a critical part of the screening process.
How much time should I set aside for my appointment?
Because some delays are inevitable, we recommend you set aside 45 minutes for your appointment. The actual scanning process takes only about five minutes including the set-up and scan time.
What happens during my appointment?
You will meet with our Patient Navigator who will walk you through the risks and benefits, as well as the lung cancer screening process, and answer any questions you may have. Afterwards, you will be escorted to the CT area, where you will be asked a few medical questions. While in the CT scanner, you will lay flat on your back with your arms above your head. You may eat and drink prior to your test. The test does not involve any needle sticks or injections. It’s quick, painless and could save your life.
Who interprets the scans?
A board-certified radiologist that has special training and experience in interpreting these types of tests will interpret your screening CT scan. If abnormal, your screening CT is then presented by the radiologist at The Center for Chest Care, a multi-disciplinary lung cancer program. These physicians have expertise in lung cancer, and are committed to working together as a team to create a personalized plan for you. These specialists include:
- Diagnostic Radiologists
- Medical Oncologists
- Radiation Oncologists
- Thoracic Surgeons
How long will it take to get the results?
You will receive a letter via mail explaining the results within 7-10 days from the date of your screening CT. Your physician(s) will also receive a faxed report of your CT and a letter stating results of your scan.
If lung cancer is suspected, your referring doctor will be notified of the results by phone. You will receive a phone call from our Patient Navigator or from your referring doctor. Arrangements will be made for you to see your doctor, or your doctor may choose to refer you to one of our lung specialists.
Is screening right for me?
If you are 50 years or older, have a long history of smoking, have a history of cancer, exposure to occupational or environmental cancer causing substances, or have a family history of lung cancer, then this screening could be right for you. You are not eligible for this screening exam if you:
- Have had a chest CT within the past 12 months
- Are pregnant
- Have a history of cancer(except non-melanoma skin cancer) within the past five years
For those who don’t meet the above screening criteria, a physician’s order is required. Please speak with your physician or call 479-695-0081 to schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist (lung specialist) to discuss the risks and benefits of screening.
Screening cost: FREE
Lung cancer screening consists of a low-dose CT scan – a quick and painless scan. NWA Lung Cancer Screening Program provides the CT at no charge. We believe that individuals at high risk of developing lung cancer should have access to this life saving test. Please note: While lung screening CT exam is free, any additional testing and/or evaluation should be covered by your insurance.