Low Dose Lung Cancer Screening

Seacoast Radiology and Wentworth Douglass Hospital offer quick and convenient outpatient low dose CT (LDCT) lung cancer screening at the WDH main campus in Dover, as well as at the Pease and Lee imaging centers.

Let’s screen and save lives!

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. About 85 percent of lung cancer deaths occur in current or former cigarette smokers.

Lung cancer that is detected early is more often successfully treated. Based on a large national trial by the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that there will be 15 to 20 percent fewer lung cancer deaths among participants screened with LDCT.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual screening for lung cancer with LDCT in adults aged 50 to 80 who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

To translate your smoking history into “pack years,” multiply the number of cigarette packs you have smoked per day by the number of years you have smoked. For example: 1 pack a day smoked over a 30 year period = 30 pack years.

Even patients with a history of lung cancer greater than 5 years ago can be screened.

No IV needed!  No IV contrast or contrast by mouth is required for low dose screening.

LDCT works like other CT exams, but uses less radiation.

The chest is imaged by CT from the neck base to the upper abdomen.

The technologist will position you on your back on the CT table with your arms raised over your head. Then the table will move through the machine while you hold your breath for the short 10-second scan.

Lung cancer typically occurs in the form of a lung nodule, but it is important to remember that most nodules (more than 95%) do not represent cancer.

Small nodules can be followed at your next annual low dose screening exam. However, if the radiologist detects a nodule larger than a certain size, they will likely recommend a follow-up LDCT scan several months later to check that the nodule does not change in size.

If the nodule grows or is suspicious, the radiologist may recommend further evaluation with a more advanced imaging study such as a PET scan and/or a biopsy of the nodule.

If the nodule is cancerous, your doctor may recommend additional tests to determine the stage of the tumor, and will refer you to the WDH Multidisciplinary Chest Center, where specialists in oncology, pulmonary medicine, thoracic surgery, radiation oncology, and radiology will present and discuss your options.

The exam requires a doctor’s order. If you qualify, please tell your primary care provider or pulmonologist that you are interested in low dose lung cancer screening and kindly request that they order one for you.