Longtime Smokers: Learn about Lung Cancer Screening

| Posted by | Categories: Healthy Conversations, Radiology and Imaging, Your YRMC

Early and regular screening has made lung cancer – the leading cause of all cancer deaths – a potentially curable disease. With low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), 80 percent of lung cancers detected early can be cured.

“This is a giant leap forward for many reasons,” says Sierra-Amber Mabry, RT, Prescott Medical Imaging (PMI) at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). “LDCT not only catches lung cancer early, the screening exam also uses a very low dose of radiation.”

LDCT is available at both Dignity Health Imaging Centers — Prescott Medical Imaging and Prescott Valley Medical Imaging (PVMI). The radiologic technologists from PMI and PVMI are enthusiastic supporters of LDCT and YRMC’s Lung Cancer Screening and Care program.

Do you think LDCT would be good for you or someone important to you? Check out the Healthy Conversations video below to learn how Mabry and the PMI-PVMI team make the process easy for you.

How does LDCT work?

The technical definition of LDCT includes a CT scan – a diagnostic tool that combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers – which takes cross-sectional pictures of the lungs. Mabry’s explanation of LDCT, however, is more patient friendly.

“I explain LDCT by comparing the body, particularly the chest area, to a loaf of bread,” Mabry says. “To study a certain area within the chest cavity, the LDCT images are sliced into pieces, much like a loaf a bread. Our radiologists are then able to pull out a single slice from the loaf, examine that slice, return it to the loaf, then pull out another slice, and so on.”

LDCT can detect nodules and other issues while using 90 percent less radiation than a conventional chest CT scan.

Making LDCT easy for you

PMI-PVMI radiologic technologists are experts at alleviating any concerns people may have about their LDCT. Are you worried the CT scan equipment may make you claustrophobic? Mabry and other radiologic technologists are ready with a warm or cool washcloth to cover your eyes. They’re also good at talking people through the exams. And, you can ask your physician for a prescription to relax you before you arrive for your LDCT.

“The actual exam only takes eight seconds,” she says. “That’s a surprise to people. So with registration, changing in and out of a gown, and positioning on the table, people are usually out the door and on with their day in about 30 minutes.”

If it’s your first LDCT, just prior to your exam you’ll meet briefly with Jennifer Harvey, RN, Patient Navigator for YRMC’s Lung Cancer Screening and Care program. She will answer questions about LDCT and discuss the Lung Cancer Screening and Care program.

Getting screened for lung cancer

Are you eligible for a LDCT? The best way to find out, is to contact YRMC’s Lung Cancer Screening and Care patient navigator. But basically, the program includes people who are:

  • Current smokers or smokers who have quit in the last 15 years
  • 55 – 77 years of age and in some cases 50 – 80 years of age
  • Free of any lung cancer symptoms with no prior lung cancers
  • Heavy smokers (1 pack a day for 30 years or the equivalent)

For more information about LDCT, speak with your primary care provider or contact:

  • Lung Cancer Screening and Care program at (928) 771-5454
  • PMI or PVMI at (928) 771-4728