Lung cancer is a growth in your lung that
can develop for various reasons, the most common being smoking. Lung cancer is one of
the most common cancers and leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. In
the case of women, it kills more women than breast, ovarian and uterine cancers combined.
We wend to PIH Health in Whittier, California and spoke to Dr. Daniel Saket who talks about
the low dose CT scan for lung cancer screening. Evidence has shown is that low dose cat scan,
low dose CT scan is a very effective way to detect lung cancer early at a stage where
it’s potentially treatable. There was a large national trial recently in the last few years
which demonstrated that yearly low dose chest CT screening can decrease mortality rate,
can decrease your chance of dying from lung cancer by at least 20% and based on a lot
of this data and clinical trials, the United States Preventative Services task forces recently
came out with a recommendation supporting low dose chest CT for lung cancer screening.
The screening process is very straight forward, you know we have a nurse navigator who will
meet with you about half an hour before your scan and explain the screening process, explain
the risks and benefits, counsel you and then you’ll be taken into the CT room. The procedure
is pretty basic, it’s a about a 10-second scan there are no IV’s, there’s no injections,
there’s no pain involved, basically you’re placed in a CT scanner which has a fairly
broad opening so usually there’s no issues with claustrophobia or feeling like you’re
in a tight space like you would be with an MRI for instance and basically you hold your
breath and you move through the scanner and 10-seconds later it’s done. After the scan
is completed, the images get processed, the radiologist will look through the images,
interpret the images and usually there’s one of three possibilities. One is that there’s
nothing suspicious, the second possibility is that there’s something that’s possibly
suspicious in which case, follow-up might be needed, usually in an imaging follow-up.
Or there could be something that’s highly suspicious and may require a biopsy. We put
together a team of multiple different specialists including radiologists, pulmonologists who
specialize in lung medicine, lung surgeons, pathologists, radiation oncologists and medical
oncologists and for every case that does turn out to be a cancer, we meet and formulate
a plan that we feel is best suited for your specific case and we present that to you.
The screening is for patients that don’t have symptoms, if someone does have a cough or
has chest or pulmonary symptoms, you know its really important to see your doctor and
get that worked up in an appropriate way. This is really for patients that are high
risk that have a significant smoking history and currently don’t have any symptoms. Why
are more people being screened for lung cancer today then years ago? There had never been
up until now, a proven way to decrease your risk other than stopping smoking which of
course is an important part of this. There really had not been a proven way through testing
and through screening to decrease your chance of dying from lung cancer. You know that has
changed over the last few years that this has really been shown to be effective. I think
awareness has been growing slowly over the last 15 or 20 years but I think we’ve reached
a point where it’s pretty clear that smoking is harmful and you know and potentially kill
you and you know we’re seeing a lot of people that are motivated to try to stop smoking.
Along with the screening you know we have developed a smoking cessation program. So
this is really for individuals who are motivated you know to stop smoking and do what they
can to lead healthier lives and at the same time you know try to do everything they can
so that they can you know live until old age and enjoy everything that we were supposed
enjoy later in life.