A low - dose computed tomography (CT) scan shows a 3 - D image of the lungs that is clearer and more detailed than regular x - rays, allowing doctors to diagnose lung cancer at its earliest stage, before there are any symptoms. Lung cancer symptoms do not usually occur until the cancer is advanced, and may include persistent cough, sputum streaked with blood, chest pain, voice change, worsening shortness of breath, and recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis.
The low - dose CT lung cancer scan has been shown to improve survival by 20 percent according to The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Private insurance companies cover lung cancer screening for high - risk individuals. Medicare and Medicaid also cover lung cancer screening. In order to receive a lung cancer screening, you must have a doctor’s referral.
If you feel that you are at risk for lung cancer, call your doctor and say you are interested in a low-dose CT scan.