If you are or were once a heavy smoker, you should know about Low Dose Computed Tomography, or LDCT. In a randomized clinical trial of current and former heavy smokers who reached 30 “pack years” – which is the number of packs smoked a day multiplied by the number of years spent smoking – LDCT proved to catch nodules in the lung while they were still small and contained enough to be successfully treated better than conventional chest x-ray. In fact, patients who received LDCT experienced 20% fewer lung cancer deaths. For the roughly one in five people whose lives were saved by LDCT, that is a huge improvement indeed.
If you have smoked a pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, or three packs a day for 10 years, you are considered a heavy smoker. Early discovery is crucial for survival because once lung cancer produces symptoms like wheezing, a bloody or chronic cough or unexplained weight loss, it most often signifies that cancer has spread outside the lung, where it can be impossible to treat. If you are or were a heavy smoker, the American Lung Association and other health organizations recommend annual LDCT screening. The test is quick and painless, and with RAI’s sophisticated dose reduction techniques ensuring up to 90% less ionizing radiation than conventional CT scanning, it is considered safe and effective.
No matter what your age or how long you have smoked, quitting significantly reduces your chances of getting lung cancer, and there are medically-proven resources designed help. Talk to your doctor about quitting and about LDCT screening. It takes just minutes and could save your life.
For more information, contact your primary care physician or call Radiology Associates Imaging at (386) 274-6000 to find out if LDCT is right for you.