What you can expect

During lung cancer screening

During an LDCT scan of the lungs, you lie on your back on a long table. You may be given a pillow to make you more comfortable.

The technologist who runs your scan will move to a separate room where he or she can still see you and talk with you.

You'll be asked to lie very still as the table slides through the center of a large machine that creates the images of your lungs. The table passes through the machine initially to determine the starting point for the scan.

When the machine is ready to start the scan, you may be asked to hold your breath briefly in order to create a clear picture of your lungs. The table will move quickly through the machine as the images are created. The machine may make knocking or clicking noises.

Expect your appointment to last about a half-hour, though the actual scan takes less than a minute.

After lung cancer screening

When your LDCT scan is complete, you can go about your day normally.

The images created during the scan are compiled by a computer and reviewed by a doctor who specializes in diagnosing lung cancer with imaging tests (chest radiologist).

Aug. 09, 2017
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Lung cancer screening in at-risk patients. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  2. Moyer VA, et al. Screening for lung cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014;160:330.
  3. Lung cancer screening. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
  4. Smith RA, et al. Cancer screening in the United States, 2016: A review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and current issues in cancer screening. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2016;66:95.
  5. Detterbeck FC, et al. Diagnosis and management of lung cancer, 3rd ed.: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest. 2013;143(suppl):7S.
  6. Lung cancer screening (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/lung-screening-pdq. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
  7. Computed tomography (CT) — chest. RadiologyInfo.org. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=chestct. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
  8. Decision memo for screening for lung cancer with low dose computed tomography (LDCT) (CAG-00439N). Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
  9. Midthun DE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 30, 2015.