How a low-dose CT scan finds lung cancer, featuring Dr. Jack Wei

Written by Community Health Network on 2/26/2014 8:00:00 AM

Computed tomography (a.k.a. CT scan) is not new technology, but low-dose CT scans for lung screening are part of a new national recommendation for long-term smokers and even those who stopped smoking 15 years ago. A low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung screening machine looks like a giant donut that you pass through. But within a few minutes the lung scan is over. No needles or punctures, and the open concept really shouldn't be a problem for anyone who is claustrophobic.

So, why get a low dose CT? 

Cancer specialists say the low dose CT scans can significantly reduce deaths due to lung cancer because the detail on these scans is more detailed than what you see on a chest X-ray. The low dose helical CT uses X-rays to obtain a multiple-image scan of the entire chest during a seven to fifteen second breath-hold. A standard chest X-ray requires only a sub-second breath-hold, but produces a single image of the whole chest in which anatomic structures overlie one another. The goal of the low dose CT scan is to detect abnormal growths. Not all of these growths or nodules are cancerous. 

In fact, finding a nodule is not uncommon, especially for Hoosiers, because the smoking rate is above the national average. This statistic underscores the need to improve lung screening rates in Indiana. Lung cancer remains the number one cancer in the state and the number one cause of cancer deaths. If a CT scan comes back suspicious then the Community Cancer Care physicians have a fast acting response. The next step is to determine if the growth is cancerous, and if so, to stage it.

Jack Wei, lung cancer expert at Community“We take a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care at Community,” said Dr. Jack Wei, radiation oncologist and a certified MD Anderson Cancer Network® physician. “Detecting lung cancer at its earliest stage and having it removed surgically dramatically improves the survival rates.”

While smoking rates are going down, the chances of a man developing lung cancer is one in thirteen, and for a woman it is one in sixteen. Those odds can be improved if you get a baseline lung screening.

Schedule a lung screening.
At Community Cancer Care the pursuit is on. Get your cancer answers by calling for a lung screening appointment at 800-777-7775.

Appointments available!

To make an appointment with an MD Anderson Cancer Network® certified physician at Community, call 800-777-7775 today!

Community first healthcare organization in the nation to be certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network®

Community Health Network is the first healthcare organization to achieve system-wide recognition by MD Anderson Cancer Network® as a certified member. The five hospital locations providing qualified cancer services in the network have met the rigorous standards to treat cancer patients with MD Anderson evidence-based guidelines and best practices. Learn more.