The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) compared two ways of detecting lung cancer: low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) and standard chest X-ray. Both chest X-rays and low-dose helical CT scans have been used to find lung cancer early, but the effects of these screening techniques on lung cancer mortality rates had not been determined. NLST enrolled 53,454 current or former heavy smokers from 33 sites and coordinating centers across the United States.
In November 2010, the initial findings from the NLST were released. On June 29, 2011, the primary results were published online in the New England Journal of Medicine and appeared in the print issue on August 4, 2011. These findings reveal that participants who received low-dose helical CT scans had a 20.0 percent lower risk of dying from lung cancer than participants who received standard chest X-rays.
Based on the trial and its findings, Diagnostic Imaging Services has created a screening program utilizing low-dose CT to provide increased detection of possible early-stage lung cancer. Currently, in most cases, screening for lung cancer is not recommended and not covered by Medicare or most insurance companies. However, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Cancer Society have recommended screening for high-risk individuals ages 55 to 74 who have smoked a pack or more of cigarettes a day for 30 years or more, and who are still smoking or who quit less than 15 years ago. The NCCN also recommends screening for those 50 and older who have smoked a pack a day or more of cigarettes for 20 years or longer and have one additional risk factor for lung cancer. This could include a history of exposure to radon or occupational exposure to certain chemicals.
The cost of the exam is $99 and the test will be completed in approximately five minutes. Screenings are done at all three D.I.S. locations.
For more information on this screening service, click here for more information.