Should I Consider a Lung Scan?

Lung cancer is the Leading cause of cancer death for both men and women and responsible for 27 percent of all cancer deaths in United States. Unfortunately, more people die of Lung Cancer in United States than Breast, Prostate, Colon, Kidney and Melanoma combined. With these trends, about one incidence of lung cancer diagnosed every 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

Columbus Regional Health has the ability to screen for lung cancer and identify it in early stages. Timely identification and diagnosis of lung cancer is the key to long term survival. Sometimes, there are only few months before a Stage 1 Lung cancer advances to a Stage IV so the goal is to identify any suspicious lesions as early as possible. Lung cancer usually starts as a nodule or a spot in the lung. The Low dose CT helps scan patients’ lungs and identify these spots. Based on the size, appearance and location, these are either monitored or further treatment services may be warranted including additional scans or a biopsy. Traditionally, only about 20 percent of the patients undergoing screening require any additional services or treatment and 80 percent just need a low dose screening CT once a year.

Currently, the low dose screening CT scans have been found most beneficial for patients who are between 50 to 80 years of age and who have smoked at least 20 pack years and are either current smokers or have quit within last 15 years. Pack years are calculated by multiplying the average packs smoked a day by number of years one has smoked for.

If there are suspicious lesions identified on the screening CT, it is then reviewed by the CRH multi-disciplinary Lung Nodule Review Board consisting of physicians from various specialties including Interventional Pulmonology, Interventional Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Thoracic Surgery. This approach offers patients a multi-disciplinary expertise without the hassle of multiple appointments and at no additional cost to the patients.

Throughout our program, the data shows that the CRH Lung Nodule Review Board has identified 70 percent of asymptomatic lung cancers in early stages, which is significantly better than the national average of only 20 percent of lung cancers identified in early stages without screening. This allows our patients to attain best outcome from treatment while the low-dose approach we take makes the risk of radiation exposure is extremely minimal.


Dr. Deepankar Sharma, MD

Deepankar Sharma, MD

Columbus Regional Health

Lung Institute

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