All You Need to Know About Early Lung Cancer Screening

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Lung cancer screening is used to detect lung cancer in healthy individuals at high risk. To detect lung cancer, doctors use low-dose computerizedtomography (LDCT), which scans the lungs. Lung cancer that is caught early in its progression is more likely to be treated.

Lung cancer screening aims to detect it early so that it can be treated. Lung cancer usually develops before symptoms and signs are apparent. Lung cancer screening has been shown to reduce the chance of developing lung cancer.

Screening should be done by who

Lung cancer screening is usually reserved for those at greatest risk, such as:

Senior citizens who were smokers or are currently smoking. Smokers and ex-smokers over 50 are generally eligible for a screening for lung cancer.

Smokers who have smoked for a long time. If you smoke for more than 20 years, lung cancer screening may be recommended. The number of packs you have smoked in a given day is multiplied by the number of years.

A person who has smoked 20 packs in 20 years may have smoked one pack per day for 20 years, two packs per day for 10 years, or half a pack every day for 40 years. Even if you have changed your smoking habits over time, your recollection of your smoking history can help determine whether lung cancer screening is beneficial to you.

People who used to smoke heavily, but have since quit. Lung cancer screening may be recommended for those who have been a smoker for a while and have stopped smoking within the past 15 years.

People who are generally in good health. You may not be able to receive lung cancer screening if you have severe health issues. Follow-up tests can also prove more difficult. Lung cancer screening is only offered to those who are generally healthy.

If you have poor lung function, or any other serious condition that could make surgery more difficult, screening is not recommended. These include those who require continuous supplemental oxygen, have suffered unexplained weight loss, have coughed up blood recently, or have had a chest CT scan within the last year.

Lung cancer survivors. You may be eligible for screening if you have been treated for lung cancer in the past five years.

Lung cancer is also possible in people who have other risk factors. Other risk factors for lung carcinoma include people with chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), people with a family history and those who were exposed to asbestos at their workplace.

How long do you need to keep screening?

Different medical groups have different opinions about the best age to stop lung cancer screening. You should continue to have your annual screenings until you are no longer able to benefit from them, or if you have other serious medical conditions that make it difficult to receive lung cancer treatment.

Lung cancer screening risks:

  • Low radiation exposure. An LDCT scan exposes you to less radiation than a standard CT scan. It is approximately half of the radiation that you are exposed to in the natural environment over a year.
  • Follow-up testing is required. You may need to have additional scans if your scan finds a suspicious spot in your lungs. This could expose you to radiation or invasive tests such as a biopsy. These are serious risks. Even if these tests prove that you aren’t suffering from lung cancer, there may be serious consequences that you weren’t aware of.
  • It’s possible to find cancer too advanced for treatment. Advanced lung cancers such as those that have spread may not respond to treatment. A lung cancer screening test may not be able to detect these cancers.
  • Lung cancers can grow slowly, and may not cause any symptoms or harm. It is difficult to determine which cancers will not grow to cause harm and which must be treated quickly in order to prevent further complications. Your doctor will recommend treatment if you are diagnosed with lung cancer. You may not be able to receive treatment for cancers that would otherwise have been small or confined for the rest of your lives.
  • There are some cancers that you may not have detected. Lung cancer screening tests may have missed some or all of the possible causes. These cases could lead to false positives in your lung cancer screening test results.
  • Other health issues. Smokers who have smoked for a long period of time are at greater risk for developing other health conditions, such as heart and lung problems. Your doctor may recommend further testing or invasive treatment if they find another health problem.

How to prepare

You may need to prepare for lung cancer screening Singapore:

If you suspect that you may have a serious respiratory tract infection, inform your doctor immediately. Your doctor might recommend that you wait until your symptoms have gone away if you are experiencing symptoms or signs of a respiratory infection. A respiratory infection can lead to abnormalities in CT scans, which may require additional tests or scans. Waiting for the infection to clear can prevent these additional tests.

Take out any metal that you are wearing. You may need to take out any metals that might interfere with imaging.

Avoid metal buttons and snaps by wearing clothes that aren’t made of fabric. Don’t wear an underwire bra. You may be asked to remove any metal from your clothing and change into a gown.

What to expect

During lung cancer screening

During an LDCT scan, you will be asked to lie down on your back on a table. To make you feel more comfortable, a pillow may be provided.

The Lung specialist Singapore performing your scan will go to a separate area where he/she can still see you and have a conversation with you.

The machine will ask you to remain still while the table moves through the middle of the machine, creating images of your lungs. To determine the start point of the scan, the table first passes through the machine.

Once the machine is ready for scanning, you might be asked to hold your breathe briefly so that the machine can take a picture of your lungs. As the images are created, the table will move quickly around the machine. You may hear clicking or knocking sounds from the machine.

Your appointment will last approximately half an hour, but the actual scan takes less time.

After lung cancer screening

Once your LDCT scan has been completed, you can continue with your normal day.

The computer compiles the images taken during the scan and then a chest radiologist (cardiologist) reviews them.


These are some examples of results from lung cancer screening:

  • No abnormalities discovered. Your doctor may recommend that you have another scan every year if there are no abnormalities on your lung cancer screening test. You might consider continuing your annual scans until you or your doctor decide they are not likely to be of any benefit.
  • Lung nodules. Lung nodules may look like a small spot on the lungs. Many other lung conditions can look similar, including scars from lung infections or benign (non-cancerous) growths. Studies show that as high as half of those undergoing lung cancer screenings have at least one nodule on an LDCT.
  • The majority of small nodules do not require immediate treatment and will be checked at your next annual screening for lung cancer. Sometimes, results from CT scans of the lung may indicate that the nodule is growing and will need to be rescanned in a few months. Cancerous nodules that grow are more likely to become cancerous.
  • Larger nodules are more likely to become cancerous. A large nodule is more likely to be cancerous.
  • Other health issues. Other health problems. Your lung cancer screening test could detect other heart and lung conditions in those who smoke for a long period of time. Talk to your doctor about these results and whether you need additional tests.
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