Lung Cancer Screening
Early diagnosis of lung cancer leads to faster treatment and improved results.
Your doctor will ask about your medical history, including smoking, exposure to certain substances and family history of cancer. A variety of imaging and screening tests are used to diagnose cancer, such as:
- Chest X-ray – An X-ray to check for abnormal areas on the lungs
- Low-Dose CT scan – Leveraging a low dose of radiation, a series of X-rays merged to create images of the lung. A special spiral or helical CT scan may identify smaller tumors than a regular X-ray
- Navigational Bronchoscopy – A scan producing a 3-D image of the lungs
- Sputum cytology – Examination of a sample of mucus from the lungs
- Biopsy – Removal of a sample of lung tissue to be tested for cancer cells. Methods of lung biopsy include bronchoscopy, needle aspiration and thoracentesis
- Pulmonary function tests – A series of tests done to see how well your lungs work, providing information about what kind of treatments may be appropriate for you.
Advanced lung screening
Low-Dose CT Scan (LDCT)
Cape Cod Healthcare utilizes low-dose CT scans (LDCT) at Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital. A low-dose CT scan is recommended for patients at a high risk for lung cancer. This type of scan uses 75% less radiation then a regular CT scan and does not require needles. It shows more detail than a standalone Chest X-Ray.
For those at high-risk, getting yearly LDCT scans before symptoms start can help detect lung cancer early when it is most treatable, lowering the risk of dying from lung cancer.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force lung cancer screening guidelines recommend yearly low dose CT (LDCT) for certain people at higher risk of lung cancer that meet the following conditions:
- Are aged 50 years to 80 years and are in good health and
- Are currently smokers or have quit within the past 15 years and
- Have at least a 20-pack-year smoking history
Cape Cod Healthcare also has the latest in technology to reach a diagnosis through a minimally invasive procedure – Navigational Bronchoscopy.
The SPiNView® Thoracic Navigation System allows physicians to precisely locate biopsy or even remove small lung lesions without invasive surgery or a needle biopsy. The bronchoscope uses a flexible tube to access any part of the lung without the need for surgery in a process that takes about 30-45 minutes to complete while the patient is under sedation.
The navigational bronchoscopy system uses a patient’s CT scan to produce a 3D roadmap the surgeon can follow to reach and remove suspicious tissue. This precision allows the surgeon to preserve more healthy tissue and because the procedure is minimally invasive, side effects are reduced and recovery time increased.
Lung cancer symptoms
Symptoms result from damage to the lung or other structures near the lung or surrounding tissues. They include:
- Persistent and worsening cough
- Hoarseness or any change in voice quality
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent pneumonia or bronchitis
- Chest pain
These symptoms may also be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience these symptoms, call your doctor.
Want to stop smoking?
The American Lung Association has tools to help you get started.
Our team of lung-care experts also recommend the comprehensive 1-800-Quit-Now helpline available through the state of Massachusetts.
Visit our Smoking Cessation page to learn more about tools to help you quit smoking the health benefits of quitting.