Do you have a history of tobacco use? Or, perhaps someone you care about is a former smoker. Either way, you’re probably concerned about the possibility of lung cancer. Fortunately, Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) offers low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), which can detect lung cancer early, when it’s most curable.

“Early-stage lung cancer has up to an 80 percent chance of cure, or survival, over five years,” says Jennifer Harvey, RN, BSN, Nurse Navigator, Lung Cancer Screening and Care at Dignity Health YRMC. “That’s positive news for people who are considered high risk for lung cancer.”

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, an excellent time to focus on LDCT as well as Yavapai Regional’s Lung Cancer Screening and Care program.

Learn the essentials of LDCT
LDCT is a yearly check for patients who are at high risk for lung cancer. It’s also the only lung cancer screening method recommended by the medical community.

During LDCT, a CT scan takes 3-D pictures of the lungs. These images provide more detail than a standard chest X-ray and require 75 percent less radiation than a regular CT scan. LDCT scans include a large part of the body, which means in addition to lung cancer, LDCT can detect other conditions, including chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder (COPD) and heart disease. Additionally, LDCT is non-invasive, only takes a few minutes to perform, and is not painful.

“If you don’t have any signs of lung cancer after your first LDCT screening, you will be screened annually,” Harvey explains. “It’s important to know that lung cancer screening is not a ‘one and done’ scan. I suggest that people think of their LDCT as they would a mammogram or colonoscopy—a preventive and early detection screening tool.”

A yearly LDCT scan that shows no signs of lung cancer is reassuring. However, if a scan reveals suspicious findings, the multidisciplinary care team members – nurses, pulmonologists, radiologists, surgeons, and technologists – are ready to assist with timely follow-up care.

Are you eligible for LDCT?
LDCT is available to:

  • People ages 50 – 77 (or up to age 80 with private health insurance)
  • Current smokers or smokers who quit in the last 15 years
  • Heavy smokers—one pack a day for 20 years or two packs daily for 10 years
  • Those free of any lung cancer symptoms with no prior lung cancers

The best way to find out if you qualify for LDCT is to contact a Yavapai Regional Lung Cancer Screening and Care patient navigator at (928) 771-5454. For more information, visit Lung Cancer Screening and Care.