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What is CT Lung Screening?
It is a screening test that is used to detect cancer early in patients when it is small enough to be treated and cured. At this time, only CT screening tests have been proven effective as a screening test for lung cancer. It is a painless, non-invasive test that uses low dose xrays to detect lung cancer in its early stages. It is performed on our state of the art multislice computed tomography (CT) scanner and allows the radiologist to detect very small tumors and nodules in the lungs.

How is it performed?
You will be lying on your back and briefly holding your breath while the scanner obtains the images. The scan takes approximately 15 seconds. After the scan, you will receive a copy of the images with the report and information about the test for your personal records. You will also have a chance to sit down with the doctor who interprets the images (radiologist). The whole process will take approximately 30 min.

Does it involve radiation?
Yes, CT lung screening does involve exposure to low dose radiation (X-rays). However, North Star Radiology is committed to reducing your radiation dose as low as possible. The effective dose of radiation from this important screening test is minimal (1.5-3.0 mSv), which is the equivalent dose of background radiation that a person receives over 6 months from naturally occurring sources. This low dose of radiation is the same as a screening mammogram. The benefits of this exam have been proven to far outweigh any perceived risks from the minimal amount of radiation used.

Why is it important?
Lung cancer claims the lives of over 160,000 people every year in the US and is the second leading cause of death, after heart disease. Nearly 80% of all new cases of lung cancer are from current or former smokers. Prior to a recent ground-breaking study performed across the country, there was no effective screening test accepted in the medical community that was able to detect lung cancer at a curable stage. Subsequently most cancers were detected late and were incurable. However, the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial, published in August 2011 in the New England Journal of Medicine conclusive demonstrated that the effectiveness of CT screening for lung cancer in high risk patients for detecting lung cancer early and subsequently saves lives. This study was so effective that the study was cancelled early to help more patients. North Star Radiology is the first to bring this vital screening test to the community of Fairbanks.

Who should be screened?
All patients who are over the age of 50 and have a 20 pack year history of smoking with at least one additional risk factor should be screened.
According to the Lung Cancer Screening Alliance, additional risk factors include:
-exposure to second hand smoke
-exposure to radon
-previous history of cancer (of any form)
-family history of lung cancer
-personal history of chronic lung disease (COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, asthma)
-occupational exposure to carcinogens (asbestos, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, diesel fuel, nickel, silica, etc)

Is this screening test covered by Insurance?
At this time, most insurance companies do not cover this important screening test. At North Star Radiology, we understand patients’ financial concerns and are offering this important test at a reduced price of $250, which includes the cost of the screening test, information about your text, a disc with the images, and a consultation with the radiologist at the time of the study.

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