How Often Should Ex-Smokers Get Lung Cancer Screenings?

A low-dose CT scan of the chest is a good way to detect multiple diseases and disorders, including chronic respiratory diseases and lung cancer.  Early detection of these diseases and disorders is essential to the successful fight against them.  The earlier they are detected, the better chance a patient has at survival.

This brings up a question, though.  If preventative screening is key to catching these diseases early, how often should one get tested?  Let’s take a look at today at one case in particular: a 55-year old ex-smoker who recently stopped smoking.

Our ex-smoker is 55 years old, and has had a history of smoking.  The patient has since stopped. The patient shows lung cancer symptoms now but is worried about an increased chance of developing lung cancer or some other respiratory condition in the future.

Where Public Health Organizations Agree

In August of 2011, the results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) found that screening with low-dose spiral computed tomography (LDCT) scans compared to chest X-ray reduced lung cancer deaths among older heavy smokers by 20%, according to the American Lung Association.

As of December 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force began recommending “annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery.” Further, the USPSTF “concludes with moderate certainty that annual screening for lung cancer with LDCT is of moderate net benefit in asymptomatic persons who are at high risk for lung cancer based on age, total cumulative exposure to tobacco smoke, and years since quitting smoking.”

The American Lung Association is on the same page: Our patient should get tested if they are a current or former smoker aged 55 to 74 years old, has had a history of smoking for at least 30 packs per year and has no history of lung cancer.

Now, if our patient gets tested and the results come back with no signs of lung cancer, are they off the hook for future testing?

No. The patient should still be tested annually.

The goal here is prevention, and the best way to do this is through screening, according to the American Cancer Society. Our patient is likely to develop lung cancer, so preventative screening is the best way to keep them healthy and perhaps save a life.

If you’re looking for preventative screening services (such as a CT scan), come to Doctors Imaging. We’re radiologists concerned about quality patient care. Scheduling is easy, results are available online, our rates are below hospitals, and we accept every major insurance.

Lung Cancer Symptoms and Screenings

Lung cancer is one of the most aggressive and commonplace cancers in the world. More people die from lung cancer than any kind of cancer and over 218,000 new cases are reported every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cancer is fast-moving. Without catching it in the early stages, survival chances decrease rapidly. That is why it is of the utmost importance for most smokers over the age of 55 to be screened with a CT scan for lung cancer.

The commonly reported lung cancer symptoms are:

  • a cough that doesn’t seem to go away
  • coughing up blood or bloody phlegm
  • severe, constant chest pain
  • shortness of breath or breathing issues

These issues can be easily confused with a severe cold or sickness. That may be part of the reason why people do not get properly screened. So if you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your physician about getting a low-dose CT scan to check for cancerous nodules or masses in the lungs.

Another reason that lung cancer screenings are not occurring with enough frequency is that current smokers may be hesitant to admit their habit in a doctor’s office or hospital setting. Cigarette smoking is still the #1 cause of lung cancer in America. And smokers are aware of the health risks (they are written right on the package of cigarettes) but they are addicted to the nicotine.

While tobacco itself is a dangerous plant, it is the additives in cigarettes that contribute to the developing of lung cancer. Dangerous substances from cigarette smoking include all kinds of chemicals like nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, ammonia, formaldehyde, cyanide, and arsenic. These chemicals are kept at low amounts. So they don’t kill customers quickly, but smokers die more slowly from diseases such as emphysema and lung cancer, all the while making smokers lifelong customers.

At Doctors Imaging, we don’t want shame and fear of results to keep patients from getting lung cancer screenings. Because of our equipment, experience, and other qualifications, we have been able to offer our services and help detect lung cancer and get our patients the treatment necessary. Our computed tomography capabilities are some of the best because we use the Siemens 64 slice CT, one of the best pieces of equipment for this purpose.

Find out if you may qualify for a low-dose CT scan. Even if you’re not eligible for a free exam based on your age or other qualifications, we’ll make sure you pay no more than $99 out of pocket. You can even request your appointment online. The sooner you get your exam, the sooner you can take the next step toward a healthier life.

More States in Need of LDCT Screening Centers

As opposed to cancers like leukemia and prostate, lung cancer is most often caused by lifestyle choices such as smoking cigarettes, other tobacco products or working in areas where carcinogen-filled smoke is present.

There has been an increase in advertising and lobbying for anti-tobacco campaigns. In addition, there are more than a few organizations now attempting to stop potential smokers in their youth before they pick up the habit. Thanks to these efforts and increased study on the connection between smoking and lung cancer, the rates of lung cancer in the U.S. have decreased considerably.

In hopes of combating the lung cancer statistics, the American College of Radiology and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to offer certification and accreditation to different facilities around the country that have met the strict informative, functional, and practicing ways that contribute to increased knowledge and prevention of lung cancer.

This initiative makes states more competitive in their efforts toward eradicating lung cancer, especially in states where there are high numbers of diagnosis. Medical imaging communities have done studies on the effectiveness of these centers throughout the country by first surveying how many are currently in operation. The survey showed that “nationwide, each state, including Washington DC, had a mean of four screening centers; however, 11 states had no screening centers identified. There was an average of 0.3 screening centers per 100,000 people aged 55 to 79. Among the states with the best capacity of LDCT screening centers were Washington, DC, Connecticut, Virginia, Colorado, and Maryland.”

The areas that need improvement are states like Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Missouri because they have some of the highest prevalence of lung cancer. Fortunately for New Orleans area residents, Doctors Imaging now offers the screenings.

Low-Dose CTs have been shown to be one of the best measures taken in early diagnosis of lung cancer. Because of the aggressive nature of lung cancer and the rarity of lung transplants, the earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin and the better the chances of survival are. CT scans (computed tomography) use X-ray capabilities to examine the internal structures of the body. CTs are the preferred imaging tool when searching for the presence of lung cancer. Lungs are made up of tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. Because CT imaging can produce cross-sectional images of the body’s tissue, CTs can see through bone and see the lungs from several angles, reassuring the patient that their scan is thorough.

Some may be hesitant to book an appointment for a lung cancer screening because they are worried about pain from the procedure or the possibility of radiation exposure. Please know that CT scans are completely non-invasive and the average procedure takes no more than 30 minutes. The CT machines are calibrated so that the radiation used to highlight the internal organs is an extremely low dose, about as much natural radiation a person experiences during a year. Even more beneficial is that your results will be ready and shared with your practicing physician on the same day. Please keep in mind that your doctor may need sufficient time to review the results of your exam.

If you believe that you have a possibility of developing lung cancer or you are a former or current smoker over the age of 50, please consider coming to Doctors Imaging for a lung cancer screening test. Our machines are state-of-the-art. And our friendly and experienced staff will help you with your imaging questions and concerns. Please review our CT Scan Page to learn preparations and common questions or call our offices at 504-883-8111.

Lung Cancer Detection in Louisiana Made Easy

Lung cancer is a devastating condition to suffer. There are as many as 228,000 new cases of lung cancer to be diagnosed in 2019 and as almost 142,000 people will die from lung cancer-related complications. This translates to about 1 in 15 men and 1 in 17 women will be likely to develop lung cancer. You can see that lung cancer statistics in the United States are alarming, which is why Louisiana doctors are committed to finding innovative ways and techniques to both detect and treat lung cancer.

As a patient, the symptoms of lung and or bronchi cancer can be difficult to see at first. Symptoms of lung cancer could be can be innocuous things like a cough that won’t seem to go away, chest pain with deep breathing or coughing, shortness of breath, feeling tired and weak or hoarseness in the voice. As you can see from this symptom list, these symptoms could be a bad chest cold. That is why lung cancer diagnoses are made when cancer has become serious or terminal because people are not trained to recognize the signs.

Like most cancers, there can be one reason or several reasons why someone develops cancer. Cigarette or tobacco smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. The Center for Disease Control has named smoking as “the number one risk factor for lung cancer” linking the habit to 80-90% of lung cancer diagnoses. Even if you are not a smoker, working or living around secondhand smoke can lead to lung cancer. Cigarette smoke is loaded with carcinogens and other toxic chemicals like tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide that can develop into lung cancer without ever even smoking a cigarette. Other risk factors for lung cancer include radon exposure, a naturally occurring gas that can be trapped in homes and buildings, that rises from the ground. You can have your home or office tested for radon levels and the EPA has a set of guidelines for lowering the radon levels in your dwelling. Other risk factors for lung cancer include family history or genetic issues as well as exposure to toxic substances like asbestos and chromium.

Louisiana is one state in particular that has a high instance of lung cancer. 68 per 100,000 residents have lung cancer and 51 per 100,000 die every year from the condition in Louisiana alone. With statistics like this, it is lucky that lung cancer detection in Louisiana has been made easier and more advanced with the help of local facilities like Doctors Imaging.

If you think that you may have lung cancer or would like to set up an appointment to discuss preventative measures, please contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie at 504-883-8111 Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM.

What Should Patients Expect During a Low-Dose CT Scan?

CT scans are used by doctors in order to create detailed cross-sectional images of the internal tissues and organs. By using the lowest possible dose of radiation in combination with computer technology, doctors can give patients clear and accurate diagnoses. For those who have never had this particular imaging procedure performed, this preview might help calm your fears or concerns.

What Is a Low-Dose CT Scan?

CT scans are used by doctors in order to create detailed cross-sectional images of the internal tissues and organs.A CT scan uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology in order to create images. X-rays use a small amount of radiation in order to show the body’s internal structures and produce images. On average, Americans are exposed to 3.1 mSv of radiation annually. CT scans use a slightly higher amount than that and qualified radiologists use the lowest possible dosage based on the size of a patient.

What Happens During the Exam?

CT scanners have the appearance of a tube with a spinning detector that collects the images your radiologist will use. For some procedures, the radiologist may ask that you abstain from eating for one or more hours prior to your examination.

Your CT scan will proceed as follows:

  1. While lying on your back,  a table will move your body slowly, feet-first, through the machine.
  2. If needed, your doctor may request contrast  for your CT scan procedure. Contrast is a substance that is used during imaging procedures to better understand your medical condition. Contrast material will be administered through an IV or by drinking a flavored substance. Some patients mention an itching or cooling sensation near the injection site or a slightly metallic taste, but it is still relatively safe and painless.
  3. As you are moved through the machine, your technologist will be able to see, hear and speak to you.

The images and report are created after the procedure is performed, and you and your personal doctor can review the results  together to determine your treatment options.

You should inform your doctor if you have medication allergies or an allergy to iodine. You should also let your doctor know if you suffer from diabetes or any heart, thyroid or kidney conditions as contrast material may sometimes cause an adverse reaction in patients with these conditions. Otherwise, CT scans are non-invasive and painless and can provide incredibly useful information for your doctors to use in providing the best treatment options for you.

Doctors Imaging is now offering low-dose CT lung cancer screenings, recommended annually for those at high risk for lung cancer, for the low cost of just $99. Lung screening is performed without contrast.  To schedule your appointment, use our online appointment form or call 504-883-8111.

Stop Smoking and Get Whole Body Benefits

The benefits after you stop smoking begin immediately and they are numerous.
Quitting any addiction is a difficult task. Addiction is a multi-layered process in which there is no quick fix, one magic pill or medicine that will ease the symptoms of withdrawal or the intense cravings. But the benefits after you stop smoking begin immediately and they are numerous.

New Tastes

When you smoke a cigarette, you are inhaling hot, carcinogen-filled smoke. Cigarettes contain as many as 4,000 chemical additives and all of these dangerous ingredients scald the surface of the tongue where your taste buds are. This leads to a loss of tasting sensitivity and taste bud regeneration which is why smokers often do not have the same perception of things like bitterness and sweetness. Upon quitting smoking, many people report the way food tastes different because of the new taste buds that have grown.

Better Skin

Smoking does not just cause harm the internal organs, it wreaks havoc on the skin. The carcinogens and nicotine in cigarettes damage the collage cells of the skin causing a higher prevalence of wrinkles and a general pallor to one’s complexion. Smoking is also extremely dehydrating, making the skin dry and dull. Although we cannot reverse the hands of time, quitting allows for better skin hydration and appearance.

Bigger Appetite

Cigarettes have been known to reduce appetite because they are a stimulant and make the metabolism do a slight jump and hunger pains can be forgotten momentarily. Many of those quitting smoking remark that they feel a sudden increase in their appetite and experience weight gain. It might a combination of loss of an oral habit along better tasting ability, but an increased appetite, within reason, is a small price for a deadly habit. Try adding a light exercise routine to your day to help combat rapid weight gain.

Clear Breathing

The effects of quitting smoking on the lungs is almost immediate. In only a few days, one can feel the difference. When using cigarettes, the smoke that you inhale burns the cilia in the lungs and esophagus. They can grow back unless repeatedly exposed to harmful cigarette smoke. Within 1-9 normal breathing without “smoker’s cough” can return

Mood and Energy (blood pressure)

A smoker’s addiction, though deadly, is nothing more than a series of chemical reactions. Chemicals in cigarettes excite the pleasure centers of the brain and make the body become addicted. Oxygen levels in the body decrease because of damage to the lungs making smokers feel sluggish until they smoke again. Carbon monoxide levels increase because the body is not getting enough oxygen and increase blood pressure. This effect makes smokers vulnerable to strokes but it can also cause a low mood and difficult sleep patterns. Nicotine addiction can be overcome in as little as 2 weeks helping with mood and at 2 months, circulation in the body increases causing better energy.

Stop smoking today and begin to feel the whole body benefits. If you have been smoking for an extended period of time, you should consider having a lung screening. While lung cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States, the sooner it is caught, the better the results treatment can make. Doctors Imaging in Metairie is the only facility in the greater New Orleans area that has been accredited by the American College of Radiology as a certified lung cancer screening center. Because of our equipment, experience, and staff, patients trust in the thoroughness and results of our screenings.

If you would like to book an appointment for a lung cancer screening, you can fill out our Request an Appointment form or you can call our offices in Metairie at 504-883-8111 Monday through Saturday.

The Importance of Low-Dose CTs as Lung Cancer Screenings

Survival rates are 5x higher when lung cancer is detected early.

Lung cancer is one of the most prominent cancers in the United States and throughout much of the world. Because of the prevalence of cigarette smoking and the subsequent secondhand smoke, more people than ever before are being diagnosed with lung tumors and cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2015 alone, as many as 153,718 people died from lung cancer.

Every year over 218,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer and have to begin treatment. What can be done to combat these overwhelming statistics?

To begin, education about the seriousness and detrimental effect that smoking has on the body must continue. Several anti-tobacco coalitions have been successful in their efforts of creating shock and disgust at the consequences of smoking like this commercial or this video. Children need to be shown these horrifying effects early in their education and the other harmful symptoms can results due to smoking: premature aging, fertility problems, tooth decay, mouth cancer, mood imbalances, and many other side effects. If children are given the truth, a truth they can see and touch, they will probably be less inclined to try smoking as teenagers or adults.

But it isn’t just children that need to learn the dangers of lung cancer. Parents, teachers and other role models need to set an example that smoking is a serious and harmful habit that only leads to sickness, disease, and ultimately death. In addition to practicing what they preach in their own life, adults can do their part to protect their children and friends by supporting legislation that seeks to eradicate workplace smoking in places like bars, music venues, and casinos. The employees that work in these areas are only trying to make a living for their family and yet they are exposed to massive amounts of secondhand smoke every day. So many stories already exist of service industry workers contracting lung cancer even though they themselves have never smoked a cigarette in their life. It should be stopped for their protection.

This life-changing diagnosis of lung cancer can be prevented or at the very least hindered. Come to Doctors Imaging to have a low-dose lung cancer screening test performed. By having a low-dose CT scan performed, you can get a clear picture of the condition of your lungs.

You may qualify for a low-dose CT lung cancer screening test if you meet the following conditions:

  • Adults without symptoms aged 55 to 80 years
  • You have a 30 pack-year smoking history
  • You currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Having this procedure performed will help to give you, your doctors and your family better understanding of your medical condition and what the next steps should be in getting you healthy. The best part about this procedure is that it is only $99 at Doctors Imaging in Metairie as opposed to the $150-$200 price tag at hospitals.

Why is this procedure so important? By having a screening test done early — before symptoms begin — doctors can determine if there are treatments available to save a life. By having this procedure performed, the risk of death due to lung cancer can drop by almost 20%. Prevention and early detection are the best methods for staying healthy and with your family for longer, so consider Doctors Imaging for your low-dose CT lung cancer screening test.

Request your low-dose CT lung cancer screening test today using our appointment form or by calling 504-883-8111.

What Imaging Procedures are Best for Women over 50?

According to the CDC, The leading cause of death for women between the ages of 45-64 is cancer, with heart disease following close behind. In order to decrease these numbers, knowledge and preventative measures need to be taken to keep women healthier. In order to remain in the best health, women need to be aware of the happenings within their body. Regular imaging procedures of areas like the chest, reproductive organs and internal organs can help determine the presence of tumors or cancerous cells as well as any cardiac concerns. Women may be outliving men, but statistics like that are always subject to change, especially if women do not take the proper precautions to keep themselves healthy.

Ordering a CT scan of the chest and pelvis regions can be beneficial for determining the prevalence of any health risks that commonly affect women. CT scans are the preferable method in examining the chest for tumors and cardiovascular deficiencies. If there is a prevalence of lung disease in one’s family or if you have lived a lifestyle that promotes the symptoms of lung cancer, a CT scan can be extremely effective in determining if you are at risk. For some smokers, a low-dose CT scan, (lung cancer screen) which is recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), can be done at our facilities for only $99 – an extremely low price to pay for peace of mind.

Ultrasounds are a procedure your doctor may employ to examine the reproductive organs for the presence of malformation or cancerous cells. Ultrasounds can also be performed on the cardiac structures and the vascular systems in order to ascertain if there is risk for heart attack or stroke.

MRI procedures are not routine but may be recommended for women with different types of health problems. Because MRI does not use radiation, it can often be a substitute for procedures that used to be done on CT machines. MRIs can offer more detailed images of the spine and provide better images of the structures in the body that other procedures cannot. The larger tissue systems of the body can also be examined thoroughly with an MRI. With an MRI procedure, blockages in the heart and vascular systems can be determined as well as the presence and location of tumors. Because MRIs do not utilize radiation, they can also help examine the condition of reproductive organs.

A women’s life should be long and lovely – don’t let a preventable disease cut it short. Discuss your health with your doctor and then make an appointment to get your recommended imaging procedures performed this month, so you can know sooner rather than later.

If you’re in South Louisiana, you can always conveniently schedule medical imaging procedures through our web-form, or by calling 504-883-8111.