NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Lung Cancer Screening
Which test for screening?
Research supports using spiral LDCT (
omography) of the chest for lung cancer
screening. This test takes many pictures of the inside of
your body from different angles using x-rays. The amount
of radiation used is much lower than standard doses of a
Getting an LDCT is easy. Before the test, you may be
asked to stop eating or drinking for several hours. You
also should remove any metal objects that are on your
body. The machine is large and has a tunnel in the
middle. See Figure 3. During the test, you will need to
lie on a table that moves through the tunnel. Pillows or
straps may be used to keep you still during the test. You
will be alone, but a technician will operate the machine in
a nearby room. He or she will be able to see, hear, and
speak with you at all times.
As the machine takes pictures, you may hear buzzing,
clicking, or whirring sounds. Earplugs are sometimes
worn to block these sounds. A computer combines all
pictures into one detailed picture. The test can be done
in a few minutes, but the whole process takes about
30 minutes. You may not learn of the results for a few
days since a radiologist needs to see and interpret the
pictures. A radiologist is a doctor who’s an expert in
reading LDCT scans.
Part 3: Should I start now?
Figure 3. Computed tomography