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CT Low-Radiation Lung Cancer Screening Available
Monday, June 5, 2017 at 5:00pm

Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published results from the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial conducted by the National Cancer Institute and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network. This study, the only randomized control trial of lung-cancer screening that has been completed, included more than 50,000 patients. The study demonstrated a mortality benefit of 20 percent when CT is used to screen high-risk patients for early lung cancer.

"It's important that we use this test wisely because the study applies only to a high-risk group," says John Barone, Olympia Medical Center Imaging Services Manager.

Call (323) 900-7000 for your appointment.


National medical societies such as the American Cancer Society are now developing guidelines for screening programs, but none are currently available. In the meantime, Olympia Medical Center Imaging will be following the inclusion criteria used in the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial, which were as follows:

Individuals between the ages of 55 and 74 who are current or former smokers

History of at least 30 pack years of smoking (a pack year equals the number of packs smoked per day times the number of years smoked)

Patients should not have a history of any cancer within the past five years

Former smokers must have quit within the past 15 years


Screening is available at Olympia Medical Center, 5900 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, Ca 90036 at the crossroads of Fairfax and Olympic.

Screening CTs will be available only on a self-pay basis. The total fee will is $350 payable at the time of the screening. (If the study detects something, follow-up CT scans should be covered by the patient's insurance, but, as always, patients are encouraged to confirm coverage with their insurance carrier.)

In accordance with Olympia Medical Center Imaging's commitment to reducing radiation exposure, lung-cancer screening will be a low-dose CT exam, with a radiation dose of around 1.5 mSv (millisieverts), equivalent to approximately half of the naturally occurring background radiation that a person receives living for one year at sea level. The exam does not require contrast.

All patients must be referred for the CT lung screening by a physician. Please call Central Scheduling at (323) 900-7000 for your appointment or have your physician FAX the CT lung screening order to (323) 900-7007.

This screening may not be covered by your health plan. However, it is important that a responsible healthcare provider manage follow-up care for patients with a positive finding.

False positives

Although low-dose CT screening for lung cancer in high risk groups has been shown to have a definite benefit in saving lives, there is a negative aspect. The number of false-positive studies is high. Note that 40 percent of the screening CTs in the National Lung Screening Trial revealed small indeterminate lung nodules that will require follow-up in order to determine if they grow, indicating a likely cancer.

Such results can lead to additional cost, radiation exposure, and patient anxiety. Larger nodules may require biopsy by means of an invasive procedure to establish the diagnosis and may lead to potential complications. Some of these nodules will be proven not to be cancer.

Active smokers undergoing screening CT should enter a smoking cessation program. Screening is not an alternative to smoking cessation.