Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening


  Steven Harper

JCMG Radiology in conjunction with JCMG Hematology/Oncology, Pulmonology and Dr. Allyson Walker (St. Mary’s Cardiothoracic Surgery) is pleased to offer a new state of the art technique in the battle against lung cancer: Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women. An estimated 226,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. More than 75% of people with lung cancer have incurable locally advanced or metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis. Detecting lung cancer early and having it surgically resected has shown to improve five year survival and decrease cancer death by 20% according to the recently published National Lung Screening Trial.


Guidelines for lung cancer screening with computed tomography are now available to clinicians. These guidelines were developed by the American College of Chest Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Oncology, and endorsed by the American Thoracic Society (ATS).


These guidelines recommend annual screening with low-dose CT for patients meeting the following criteria:
-Smokers and former smokers (who have quit in the last 15 years) ages 55 to 74 years
-Smoking history of at least 30 pack years* (also includes smokers of 20 pack years* with a family history of lung cancer)


If you meet the above criteria, you should contact your health care provider about having a low dose CT lung cancer screening.


The screening CT will be performed without intravenous contrast and is performed with a low-dose technique, which is approximately 1/6 of the radiation of a conventional CT of the chest.


Insurance companies who participate with JCMG will be billed for the low dose CT scan and may reimburse based upon an individual patient’s benefits.


Low-Dose CT is specifically designed to screen for pulmonary nodules in asymptomatic patients and is not intended to screen for abnormalities elsewhere in the thorax.


Dr. David Burns will administer and supervise the JCMG Lung Cancer Screening Program. He is central Missouri’s only fellowship trained chest radiologist. He trained at the University of Colorado and at National Jewish Health Center in Denver, the # 1 ranked respiratory hospital in the United States. Dr. Burns trained under one of the lead investigators for the national lung screening trial.


Please feel free to contact JCMG Radiology Department or JCMG’s radiologists for additional details or questions regarding low-dose CT lung cancer screening.


*Pack years = Maximum number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the total number of years smoked.