Detecting Lung Cancer Early
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of a lung cancer screening
CT? This test is able to detect nodules, or spots, on your
lungs that may indicate lung cancer in its earliest stage.
I have had chest x-rays before. Why would I
want to have this scan? A traditional chest X-ray
shows only two views of your chest (front and side),
while a CT scan shows crossectional images throughout
your chest, from the tip to the base of each lung. Tiny
abnormalities that may be early stage lung cancer can
Will this CT scan show other lung abnormalities
besides cancer? Yes. Pneumonia, tuberculosis or
emphysema may be detected using a CT scan.
How do I make an appointment? Lung Cancer
Screenings are available in both Centralia and Mt.
Vernon. To schedule a screening in Mt. Vernon at Good
Samaritan Regional Health Center call 618-899-1894 or
in Centralia at St. Mary’s Hospital, call 618.436.8277.
You will be given an appointment time that is most
convenient for you.
What else should I know about the study? At the
time of your scan, the study coordinator will give you an
“informed consent” form to review and sign. You will
be tracked for follow-up by the study coordinator and
principal investigator along with your physician.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, claiming more
than 150,000 lives each year. It kills more people than all cancers of the breast,
prostate, colon and cervix combined.
CT scans are able to detect tumors that are smaller than a
grain of rice – growths that are too small to be visible on a
chest X-ray. Often, by the time the tumor is large enough to be
viewed on an X-ray, the cancer is too far advanced to be cured.
- The New England Journal of Medicine reports that screening
high-risk patients for lung cancer resulted in 85 percent of
those diagnosed (using annual low-dose CT screening) to be
in the earliest stage of the disease. Further, the study showed
that when followed by prompt surgical removal, the 10 year
survival rate was 92 percent.
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI) released initial results
from a large-scale test of screening methods to reduce
deaths from lung cancer by detecting cancer at relatively
early stages. The National Lung Screening Trial showed
20 pecent fewer lung cancer deaths seen among those
who were screened with low-dose spiral CT than with a
To qualify for participation, you must:
- Be age 50 or older;
- Be a current or former smoker of at least:
1 pack per day for 30 years – or
2 packs per day for 15 years
- Have no prior cancers;
- Have not had a chest CT in the past year.
The screening is $100. Most insurance companies do not
cover the cost of the initial exam, but you should verify with
your insurance company.
To schedule an appointment for a CT scan of the lungs, call:
618.899.1894 – Good Samaritan Regional Health Center,
618.436.8277 – St. Mary’s Hospital, Centralia
You will be asked to obtain a prescription from your physician
for a “low-dose CT of the chest.” Your physician should fax
the prescription to the CT lung screening nurse navigators at
618.899.4800 – Good Samaritan Regional Health Center,
618.436.8020 – St. Mary’s Hospital, Centralia
This program is offered through St. Mary’s Good Samaritan
cancer programs. Both Good Samaritan Regional Health Center
and St. Mary’s Hospital cancer care programs are accredited by
the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.