Cancer Center

Lung Cancer Screening

Early Detection through Low Dose CT Scan

Research shows that using a low dose Computed Tomography (CT) scan can help detect lung cancer before signs or symptoms have begun showing. Early stage cancers can be more easily treated and frequently cured than later stage cancers. 

Screening for lung cancer is a process that involves regular evaluations of your lungs over time to look for new cancer. The ability for CT scanners to detect tiny lung nodules and to compare them for changes in size over time is critical to the screening process.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recently issued its final guidelines on lung cancer screening, based on a 2011 study funded by the National Cancer Institute and published in the Aug. 4, 2011, volume 365, edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found a 20 percent reduction in deaths from lung cancer among current or former heavy smokers who were screened with low dose CT versus those screened by chest X-ray.

WellStar West Georgia Medical Center has low-dose CT scans among its roster of imaging abilities to accomplish earlier detection of lung cancer in high-risk patients. The criteria for high-risk patients include:

  • Being between ages 55-80.
  • Currently being a smoker or having quit in the past 15 years.
  • Having smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 or more years.​

A physician order or signed prescription is required for patients to undergo a low dose CT screening. The $225 fee, which is due at the time the test is performed, will cover the cost of the screening and interpretation of the test by our radiologists.    

After screening is complete, you will receive a copy of the CT report, including any recommendations for follow-up. All recommendations will follow the published National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines and will be recorded and tracked by WGMC's Oncology Department. Repeat annual screenings or follow-up appointment reminders will be sent out.

For more information, call Lori McClung at 706.812.2808.