Low-dose computed tomography uses a special X-ray machine and a low dose of radiation to create high-quality images of your lungs. The procedure also is called low-dose CT, spiral CT or LDCT.
The exposure to radiation in low-dose CT scans is more than a standard X-ray, but up to 90% less than a conventional CT chest scan. The procedure is painless and non-invasive.
Benefits of Low-Dose CT Screening
More than 200,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States.
Low-dose CT is the only proven test to screen for early detection and diagnosis of lung cancer. A study by the National Cancer Institute found the procedure helped reduce lung-cancer deaths among smokers by 15% to 20%.
Who Should Be Screened
The American Cancer Society and American Thoracic Society recommend high-risk individuals be screened before symptoms are noticed.
Smokers and former smokers between the ages of 50 and 80 generally are considered high risk.
If you are a high-risk individual, do not wait for symptoms to appear.
Discuss options with your OSF HealthCare pulmonology provider to determine whether low-dose CT screening is right for you.