Release Date: 04/16/2015

Noting that lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans can detect even very small cancerous nodules in the lung, Memorial Hospital has begun offering LDCT scans of the chest.

“Screening high-risk patients with low-dose CT scans is especially effective for diagnosing lung cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage,” explains David W. Rowe, MD, a radiologist at Memorial Hospital.

Approximately 85 percent of lung cancer occurs in current or former smokers, Rowe continues. There are an estimated 94 million current and former smokers in the country, many of whom are at high risk of developing lung cancer.

“LDCT screening is fast, non-invasive and performed without the need for intravenous contrast,” Rowe says. “Moreover, low-dose CT scans of the chest use up to 70 percent less ionizing radiation than a conventional chest CT.”  

Lung cancer screening with LDCT has been proven to reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer in patients at high risk. When a screening detects lung cancer, patients can more often undergo minimally invasive surgery and have less lung tissue removed.  

Medicare now covers LDCT lung cancer screening once a year for its beneficiaries who:

  • Are aged 55 to 77.
  • Are a current smoker or quit smoking within the last 15 years.
  • Have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” (an average of one pack a day for 30 years).
  • Receive a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner.

Primary care physicians and patients can schedule appointments for a low-dose computed tomography scans by calling (401) 729-3900.

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