Are you at risk of lung cancer?
Lung cancer is the second-most common cancer in the United States for both men and women. In New Mexico, it leads to more deaths than any other cancer. Fortunately, Artesia General Hospital offers screening facilities to detect this cancer at an early stage so it can be treated successfully.
If you have the risk factors, careful and consistent screening every six to 12 months could save your life. By the time most lung cancer signs and symptoms become noticeable in your daily life, the cancer may be very advanced and make treatment more difficult.
Our lung cancer screening facility is the only one in the area accredited by the American College of Radiology. The test uses low-dose computerized tomography (CT) to scan and create a detailed picture of your lungs that your doctor can use to search for nodules. The test can detect even tiny tumors before lung cancer symptoms develop—significantly improving chances for successful treatment.
A referral is required for this screening, so talk to your provider or find one here.
Who should receive a lung cancer screening?
To receive a lung cancer screening, you must be a male or female between 55 to 85 years of age and have a 30 pack year history of smoking. A 30 pack year smoking history includes someone who smokes 3 packs a day for 10 years, or 1 pack a day for 30 years. If you are a former smoker with a 30 pack year history, you need to have quit less than 15 years ago.
If you are unsure if you qualify, please speak with your provider.
What will happen the day of the scan?
You will be asked to lie still on a table as the CT scanner moves you through the doughnut-shaped opening for just a few seconds. The technologist will give you instructions for how breathe during the test. There is no disturbing noise in the room, and you should not experience any discomfort. There are no injections or dyes involved, and you will not be required to disrobe. The scan emits a minimal level of radiation—only about one-third of the radiation that we receive from natural sources annually.
The actual scan itself takes less than a minute to complete and from start-to-finish, the entire appointment takes approximately 15 minutes.
This scan does not require any special preparation, so feel free to eat and drink as you normally would the day of the scan. Take all of your medications at the usual times as prescribed by your doctor, unless directed otherwise.
How do I get the results of my test?
After your scan, a report will be sent to your referring provider and any other specialist you request. Your provider will help you understand your score, as well as any recommended next steps.