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Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening

Mike Dudley

Mike Dudley is an information technologist. He’s used to surfing the web. A persistent cough led him to search online to investigate what his symptom could possibly mean. What he found was the SCCA Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic web site and information about low-dose CT screening for lung cancer.

“My parents both died of cancer,” Mike says. His mother of pancreatic cancer in 2001 and his father in 1975 of cancer possibly related to working on nuclear submarines.

“Having seen my parents go through all of that, I saw the early detection program and the low-dose CT screening for lung cancer as an important opportunity for me,” Mike says.

Lung Cancer Screening Criteria

An ex-smoker for several years, Mike fit the profile of someone who would benefit from lung cancer screening, a new tool that emerged from the National Lung Screening Trial’s published results in June 2011.

Patients at high risk for lung cancer who benefited from CT screening in the National Lung Screening Trial were between the age of 55 and 74; were current smokers or had quit within the last 15 years; and smoked for 30 or more pack years (pack years are the average number of cigarettes smoked per day multiplied by the number of years a person has smoked).

"Low-dose CT screening for patients at high risk of lung cancer saves lives," says David K. Madtes, MD, director of  SCCA's Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic. "It is recommended by over a dozen medical societies and patient advocacy groups including the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association." 

The CT Scan

For Mike, there was nothing to the CT scan. “It wasn’t scary in the least," he says. “Parking garages are scarier. I’m really glad I did it. It only took four minutes and it was priced right.”

From his scan, Mike learned that his lungs were fine, but he'll need to visit his cardiologist at some point.

“There is always a risk for lung cancer,” Mike says, “so I’ll have another scan in a year or so. It’s a great opportunity and everyone should take advantage of it. "

According to Dr. Madtes, early detection of lung cancer by CT screening provides the best chance for a cure. "The Lung Cancer CT Screening Program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance can tell you if you have findings concerning for possible lung cancer.  The multidisciplinary team of lung cancer experts at the SCCA Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic can explain the CT findings to you and help you with the next steps in your care."

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