Lung cancers in men and women grow at sufficiently different rates that radiologists should consider managing them differently depending on the patient’s sex, according to a presentation at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting in late November 2016.

Diagnostic Imaging Services launched our Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) program last year, using the imaging technique to identify lung nodules, some of which may be cancer.

In a study of 200 cases from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), men had significantly more fast-growing lung cancers than women. Men also had more solid nodules that turned out be malignant, whereas women had more part-solid nodules and slower-growing cancers, concluded researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

Current thinking in lung cancer screening with LDCT reveals a renewed focus on the connection between clinical characteristics and nodule features to lung cancer risk, as well as to potential over-diagnosis.

Lung cancer screening is not appropriate for everybody. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS), below is the eligibility criteria for Medicare insurance coverage for the exam:

  • Age 55–77 years
  • Asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
  • Tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (one pack-year = smoking one pack per day for one year; 1 pack = 20 cigarettes)
  • Current smoker or one who has quit smoking within the last 15 years
  • A written order for lung cancer screening with LDCT

The Diagnostic Imaging Services program involves and requires active participation from the health care provider. If a lung nodule is found on your CT scan, your doctor may recommend a follow-up CT scan, usually 6 months later to check that the nodule has not grown. In the unlikely case that the nodule does grow or may present a worry, your doctor may recommend further testing using a PET/CT scan or a biopsy (taking out a small piece of the nodule).

Diagnostic Imaging Services also created an informative brochure outlining our processes for lung cancer screening. Click here to review, print and/or download.

Click here to learn more about the DIS LDCT program.