Patient and Doctor

Early Detection of Lung Cancer

A low-dose CT lung scan is the latest advancement in the early detection of lung cancer. In this test, a series of detailed pictures of the lungs allows radiologists to determine if potential lung cancer exists. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Like most cancers, early detection of lung cancer is critical to successful treatment and improved survival possibilities.

Low-Dose CT Scans for Early Detection of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. According to the American Lung Association, about 90 percent of people who have lung cancer die from it, in part because it is often not found until the cancer is at an advanced stage. Olathe Medical Center (OMC) now offers low-dose CT lung scans for early detection of lung cancer. In this test, an x-ray machine scans the body and uses low doses of radiation to make a series of detailed pictures of the lungs.

If you are an adult between 50 and 74 years old who is at high risk for lung cancer because you are currently a heavy smoker, or you have quit within the past 15 years, you should have an annual low-dose CT lung scan. Even if you have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer, you could be at a high risk for developing the disease because of your age and smoking history.

The best way to reduce the risk of developing lung cancer is to not smoke or stop smoking, and to avoid exposure to tobacco smoke. People who quit smoking can greatly reduce their risk of developing lung cancer. This risk continues to go down over time.

Candidates for Low-Dose CT Lung Scans

  • 50 to 74 years old, and
  • A history of heavy smoking, and
  • Are either a current smoker, or who have quit within the past 15 years

Heavy smoking means a smoking history of 30 "pack years" or more. A "pack year" is smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. For example, a person could have a 30 pack-year history by smoking one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.

How to Schedule

Talk with your primary care physician to see if you are a candidate for a low-dose CT lung scan. He or she will help you schedule the appointment. If you need a primary care physician, please call 913-791-4396.