Lung Cancer Screening for High Risk Individuals

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) approved annual screening with low-dose CT for individuals at high risk for lung cancer.

The task force recommended annual scans for adults aged 55 to 80 who have a smoking history of 30 pack-years (= 1pack/day for 30 years, 2 packs/day for 15 years) and who currently smoke or who have quit within the past 15 years and who have no symptoms of lung cancer.

The recommendations are in large part based on the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) in the United States, which compared lung cancer screening methods (chest xray vs. CT scans) in current and former smokers. The results showed that people who received low-dose CT scans had a lower risk of dying from lung cancer than people who received standard chest X-rays.

The USPSTF’s recommendation is on par with previous recommendations for screening for breast, colon and cervical cancers – for which survival has increased dramatically following wide-spread screening programs. it is felt that the adoption of CT screening for lung cancer will have a “moderate-to-substantial benefit” in reducing mortality in high-risk individuals.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, Lung Cancer is the second-most frequently diagnosed cancer (after skin cancer) in Canada, and is the leading cause of cancer death in Canadians. Approximately 1 in 11 men, and 1 in 15 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer during their lifetime.

Canada Diagnostic has been providing low-dose CT screening exams for lung cancer since 2002. We also provide screening exams for colon cancer, coronary artery disease and carotid artery disease. If you think that a screening exam might be right for you, talk to your doctor. We would be happy to tell you more about these screening exams – you can call us at 604-709-8522 or visit our Screening Exam webpage here.

  Filed under: Categories: Atherosclerosis, CT Scans, Early Detection, Lung Cancer, and Screening Exams. Tags: CT Scans, early detection, Lung Cancer Screening, and screening.
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CT scans in children – is there an alternate test that can be ordered instead? What do you need to know?

A new study about childhood radiation exposure was presented this week in the British Journal of Medicine.

This excellent study reminds us that CT scans are still exceptional diagnostic tools, but that they are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. The increase I childhood cancers from exposure to CT scans is 25%.  That does not mean that one in four children who had had a CT scan will get cancer.  Here is an explanation from the study:But because the incidence of cancer in early life is very low this increased risk translated into only an extra six cancers over 10 years for every 10 000 young people who underwent computed tomography. Had they not had any scans, 39 cases of cancer would have been expected in this group
  2. Technology and reasons for using CT scans have evolved considerably since the study’s data cutoff of 2005.  Today’s scanners all have radiation dose reduction software and scan a very precise area of the body, both of which result in less radiation than previous types of CT scans
  3. The decision to give a CT scan to a child is one doctors make after very careful consideration.  A North American-wide campaign to “Image Gently” has resulted in a big shift in how and when CT scans are performed.  Here is one of the conclusions of the study:

Future CT scans should be limited to situations where there is a definite clinical indication, with every scan optimised to provide a diagnostic CT image at the lowest possible radiation dose.

It is important to note that the effects of radiation exposure in adults is less than that in children. An adult’s overall risk of getting cancer is affected by many things including age, lifestyle habits such as smoking and diet, and genetics. Based on current incidence rates, approximately 4 out of 10 Canadians will develop some type of cancer during their lifetime, regardless of exposure to medical radiation.  Read more here.

CT scans still remain an invaluable diagnostic tool.  For example, in trauma cases, these scans can be performed quickly and can establish what the injuries are – these can be life-and-death cases where time and information is of the essence.

Early detection of lung cancer is another area where CT shines.  See our next blog article where research has shown that CT scans detect twice as many lung cancers as chest xrays.

If you would like more information about CT, MRI or Ultrasound scans, or would like to know which type of scan might be best for you, please call us at 604-709-8522, email us at info@canadadiagnostic.com or visit our website.

  Filed under: Categories: CT Scans and MRI Scans. Tags: CT Scans, MRI Scans Vancouver, and Radiation Exposure.
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