Skip to main content

5 Myths About Lung Cancer Screenings

Myth #1 – If I quit smoking, I don’t need lung cancer screening because I’m no longer at risk for lung cancer.

Based on research, lung cancer screenings are recommended for current as well as former smokers. Smoking is linked to the vast majority of lung cancer cases. However, according to the American Cancer Society, up to 20 percent of people who die from lung cancer have never smoked. To see if you qualify for a lung cancer screening, take a look at the risk factors here.

Myth #2 – Lung cancer screenings are still in the experimental stages.

After the results from the government-sponsored National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), it demonstrated that low-dose CT lung cancer screenings were associated with a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer-related death. As such, this type of lung cancer screening is beneficial for high-risk patients and is covered by most insurance companies.

Myth #3 – Lung cancer screenings may expose you to dangerous radiation.

As with most medical procedures, there are some risks involved. According to the American Lung Association, the amount of radiation exposure is about the same as what the average American is exposed to naturally by simply living on Earth.

Myth #4 – Lung cancer screening is time consuming.

On average, getting screened for lung cancer takes around ten minutes. If you’re receiving a low dose CT lung cancer screening, the entire process only takes a few seconds. If any abnormalities are detected, additional tests may be required.

Myth #5 – Lung cancer screenings have a high number of false positives.

In general, cancer screenings carry the risk of false positives. If you receive a false positive on a lung cancer screening scan, it may simply indicate that you need to undergo additional imaging scans. It does not necessarily mean that you have lung cancer. According to the American Lung Association, approximately 12-14 percent of initial screenings will have a false positive, which is similar to a mammogram. Typically, more tests will be administered before someone undergoes a more invasive intervention, such as a biopsy.

Speak with your physician about getting a lung cancer screening.

A CT lung cancer screening requires a physician’s order. We encourage you to discuss the benefits of a lung cancer screening with your primary care physician. Once your physician has ordered the screening, you can schedule an appointment with your imaging provider of choice.

Schedule your lung cancer screening today by calling 919-350-LUNG (5864).