A Low-dose CT Scan Can Detect Hidden Lung Cancer
A low-dose CT scan can help identify lung cancer in smokers with no noticeable symptoms. This helps to find the disease early and administer the right treatment to the patient.
The scan is recommended for 55 to 78-year-old smokers or those who quit smoking 15 years back.
Usually, lung cancer presents symptoms such as persistent coughs, coughing blood, shortness of breath, or sudden weight loss. Those at high risk are smokers and people with a history of the disease in the family.
Low dose CT scans deliver small amounts of radiation compared to standard diagnostic CT scans. It can identify small cancers that couldn’t be detected using procedures such as chest X-rays.
The novel CT scan takes about 20 seconds and does not require the patient to prepare. The patient does not have to be injected with a dye either.
During the scan, the patient will lie on their back and move through the gantry, feet first. They will make a quick pass that will ensure images of their chest area are captured. The procedure is minimally invasive, less costly, and does not take much time.
In a study to understand its efficacy, participants who received low dose CT scans came out with a 15 to 20% lower risk of dying from lung cancer compared to those who received standard X-rays to the chest.
Undergoing a low-dose CT scan can help to target small lesions with treatments such as radiation therapy and eliminate them without damaging healthy tissue.
Finding lung cancer early can save a lot of lives. It is vital to promote awareness about the effects of smoking on lung cancer risk and also regarding the new diagnostic tool that can identify hidden tumors within the lungs.
Doctors urge those eligible for low-dose CT scans to consider having them in order to increase their chances of survival from lung cancer. People at high risk are encouraged to take the scan.