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What is a Lung Cancer Screening Exam?

Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the Unites States causing more deaths than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined. 

Screening for cancer means testing for cancer before there are any symptoms. Screening for 
some types of cancer has reduced deaths by early detection and treatment. Now there is a 
test that can reduce death from lung cancer through early detection. The test is not 
recommended for everyone and it has risks as well as benefits. Here are key points you may 
want to use in discussion with your doctor if you may be at risk for lung cancer or are worried 
about your risk for lung cancer. 

Qualifications for the Exam at Dakota Radiology

Low radiation dose, non IV contrast CT for lung cancer screening is for patients that are high risk for lung cancer. High risk patients are:
  • Current or former smokers (having quit within the past 15 years)
  • AND in the age group from 55 to 80.
  • AND with a smoking history of at least 30-pack years (1 pack/day for 30 years, 2 packs per day for 15 years, etc.)
  • OR over 50 years old with at least a 20 pack year smoking history AND a risk greater tha 5% of developing lung cancer within five years.

Know Your Risks and Benefits

Any exposure to ionizing radiation carries some inherent risk. Before undergoing a screening chest CT you should understand the potential risks and benefits of the exam and discuss them with your physician. A physician order is required for CT lung cancer screenings.

Cost for the Exam at Dakota Radiology

Currently, most insurance carriers do not cover the cost of CT lung cancer screening. Please check with your insurance. If not covered by the insurance, the charge is $200, payable at the time of service. This includes both the CT and the radiologist interpretation fees.

Smoking Cessation
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to never smoke or stop smoking now. If you are still 
smoking, talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit smoking. 

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