Low-Dose Cancer Treatment

Lung Cancer Screening and Care

Here are answers to questions you may have about Yavapai Regional Medical Center's (YRMC's) Lung Cancer Screening and Care Program as well as lung cancer.

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Lung Cancer Screening
    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) – an independent, volunteer panel of medical experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine – recommends lung cancer screening for people:
    • 55 to 80 years old
    • Free of any lung cancer signs or symptoms
    • Who have never had lung cancer
    • Currently smoke or quit smoking less than 15 years ago
    • Who are or were heavy smokers, defined by your "pack history." (For example, one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.) Use our Lung Cancer Screening Pack-Year Calculator to determine your "pack history."

     

    Whether or not to get screened for lung cancer is a personal decision. YRMC encourages you to speak with your healthcare provider to help you make that choice. Here are questions to guide that discussion:
    • Am I eligible for lung cancer screening?
    • What could happen if I decide against lung cancer screening?
    • Do I need a physician’s order for lung cancer screening?
    • Does my health insurance cover lung cancer screening?
    • Where is lung cancer screening available in my community?
    • Do I have to prepare for lung cancer screening?
    • How long before I get the screening results?
    • What are the next steps if the screening shows something of concern?

     

Lung Cancer Screening and Other Procedures
    YRMC and other leading healthcare providers use LDCT to screen for lung cancer. This simple procedure provides detailed images of the lungs and can detect lung cancer in its early stages, while it's most curable.

    To undergo LDCT, you lie on your back on a narrow table that will slide into the CT scanner. You will be asked to hold your breath for up to 10 seconds while the scan takes images of your lungs. There are no needles or medications given as part of LDCT.

    The entire process – from check-in to the scan – takes approximately 30 minutes.

     

    It's estimated more than 80 percent of lung cancers could be cured if discovered at an early stage. LDCT screening is performed before people are experiencing symptoms in order to detect lung cancer as early as possible.

    The risks of LDCT include:
    • Rare false-positive results that trigger unnecessary additional tests
    • Radiation exposure (The amount of exposure is lower than a traditional diagnostic CT)
    • Over diagnosis that could lead to unneeded treatment

     

    This minimally invasive procedure is used to diagnose lung cancer, infections and other medical conditions. During EBUS, procedural pulmonologists and other specialists perform a technique known as needle aspiration to obtain tissue or fluid samples from the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes without surgery. The samples help diagnose and stage lung cancer, detect infections and identify diseases that affect the lungs.

     

    Navigational bronchoscopy combines advanced imaging techniques with electromagnetic navigation. This allows doctors to find lung tumors, perform biopsies and administer treatment.

     

Get Started on Lung Cancer Screening
Lung Cancer
    Lung cancer is abnormal cells growing out of control. These cells may form a tumor or spread outside of the lungs. Most lung cancer deaths occur because the disease is discovered after it has spread to other parts of the body.

    Here are possible signs and symptoms of lung cancer:
    • A new cough that gets worse and won't go away
    • Chest pain that's more intense when breathing deeply, coughing or laughing
    • Shortness of breath and wheezing
    • A hoarse voice
    • Coughing up blood or rust-colored phlegm
    • Bronchitis, pneumonia or other infections that hang on or keep returning
    • Unexplained weight loss and lack of appetite

     

    It's the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. with 150,000 people dying from it each year. Approximately 220,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer annually.