Overview of lung cancer screening

Lung cancer is a complex and aggressive cancer to treat. It often has no symptoms until it is at an advanced stage, when it is harder to treat. The best way to detect it early is through routine lung cancer screening. 

Lung cancer screening involves performing a simple scan on a yearly basis. This scan can detect lung cancer before any symptoms are present. If screening does detect lung cancer, then it is usually at an early stage, and is much easier to treat and is usually curable.

The scan performed is called low dose computed tomography (CT), which produces a detailed picture of inside your lungs. 

Who should attend lung cancer screening?

Anyone considered high-risk for lung cancer should undergo lung cancer screening. This includes:

•People who smoke or who have quit smoking within the past 15 years

•People who have smoked at least one packet of cigarettes a day for more than 30 years

•People who have smoked Medwakh or Sheesha for 20 years

•People aged between 50 and 75 

If you fall into any of the categories above, speak to your doctor about scheduling a lung cancer screening.

How can I prepare for my lung cancer screening?

You won’t need to do anything to prepare for your lung cancer screening scan, unless specifically instructed by your doctor. If you feel unwell, or have any sort of lung infection, tell your doctor as they may been to reschedule your screening to make sure that your results are accurate. 

What happens when I arrive at the hospital? 

Please proceed to the Imaging Institute, located on Ground floor. Once registered, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any jewelry or metal that you might have on you. 

What happens during lung cancer screening?

You will be asked to lie on a table which is outside of the scanner. A technician will be with you and talk you through the entire procedure. The table then moves slowly inside the scanner, which is a large donut shape. The machine will take images of inside your lungs from multiple angles. The procedure only takes a few minutes, but it is important that you stay still throughout. The amount of radiation you will be exposed to is very low, and for patients at risk of lung cancer, is safe to have yearly. You will be able to go home immediately after the scan. 

Sometimes, a scan might detect something called nodules during screening. These look like cancer, but are harmless masses of tissue. Your doctor may order further investigation to confirm that they are not cancer. 

What happens next? 

Your doctor will receive a radiologist’s report of the scan, review the images themselves, and then arrange to discuss the results with you. This normally takes a few days. If they detect something abnormal, they might want to monitor it by repeating another scan in a few months, or they might request a biopsy (which involves removing a small piece of the abnormal mass). You doctor will discuss any further investigations with you in detail during a follow-up appointment. ​

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