Your doctor may recommend a lung screening because of a family history of cancer, exposure to harmful substances, or a history of smoking. As with all screenings, there are benefits and risks, and you should discuss these with your doctor. Our goal is to provide you with the safest possible care you need to preserve long-term health.
You have access to the latest technological advances in lung screening at our locations in Durham and Raleigh.
Why It’s Important to Detect Lung Disease Early
Lung diseases are most treatable when diagnosed as early as possible. Our comprehensive screening services allow our doctors to care for you in the most efficient way possible. Lung screening is recommended if you have these risk factors:
- Age 50 years or older
- A length of smoking of at least 20 pack-years during their lifetime
- Currently smoking or have quit within the past 15 years
A screening may also be appropriate if you have one or more of these risk factors:
- Personal history of prior lymphoma or a smoking-related tumor (including cancer of the kidney, bladder, or head and neck)
- Diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pulmonary fibrosis
- Family history of lung cancer in a first-degree relative
- Exposure to a cancer-causing substance such as radon, asbestos, silica, or another carcinogen
Early detection of lung disease puts you in control of your health and greatly increases your chances of receiving effective treatment.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Lung Screening Benefits and Risks
Your care team includes radiologists who are specialists in lung imaging. We use the most advanced diagnostic screening tool available, the low-dose CT scan. It is considered the most accurate way to detect lung cancer.
Benefits of a Low-Dose CT Scan
Low-dose CT is a fast, noninvasive screening that produces high resolution images of your lungs. You learn your results during or shortly after your appointment, not days later, which allows you and your doctor to quickly determine next steps.
Benefits of Early Detection of Lung Disease
The images produced by low-dose CT scans can show tumors in early-stages that may be too small to be detected by a traditional chest X-ray. Research led by the National Cancer Institute has shown a 20% relative reduction in lung cancer-related deaths for people at high risk for lung cancer when they’re screened with low-dose CT scans instead of standard chest X-rays.
Potential Risk from Radiation
Medical scans often use radiation to detect disease. Low-dose CT scans use less radiation than other CT scans to thoroughly detect disease in your lungs and chest in the safest way possible. There are some necessary risks associated with these technologies, but the benefits of finding a life-threatening disease typically outweigh the low risk of medically supervised, low-dose radiation exposure from a lung screening. Our cardiothoracic imaging specialists and radiologists have undergone extensive training to ensure they use the lowest possible radiation doses while maintaining the highest image quality.
Sometimes your test results will show a finding in your lungs that may alert your doctor, and a diagnosis won't be clear without further testing. This means your doctor may recommend additional imaging tests or a biopsy to make a more informed diagnosis.
Choose Duke for Your Lung Cancer Screening
Accredited Lung Cancer Screening Program
We offer lung cancer screenings at our Duke Cancer Centers in Durham and Raleigh, which includes programs that are accredited by the American College of Radiology. This designation is given to programs that meet rigorous standards and are run by board-certified radiologists with specialty training in lung cancer screening and detection. Our program is also recognized as a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance.
Immediate Access to Lung Cancer Experts
If your scan shows the potential for lung cancer, you may have access to our lung cancer treatment specialists, available in the same clinic five days a week. Our experts provide personalized treatment plans, advanced medical and surgical care, and access to clinical trials.
Support and Education
We offer smoking cessation evaluation, pulmonary rehabilitation, counseling, and a full spectrum of patient and family support to help educate you about lung diseases and how to prevent them.
Our imaging facilities and equipment are accredited by the American College of Radiology, which represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety