Low-dose CT scan of the lung detects even early stage of cancer!

Which type of lung diseases can be diagnosed by CT screening which cannot be diagnosed by X-ray tests?

Usually, X-ray tests include a front-view and a side-view record. Essential anatomical features of the human body results some areas to be scanned even more difficult, such as in front of and behind the diaphragm, besides the spine or apex of the lung. Lesions of 1—2cm could stay hidden for the first and may return after a year in the form of larger lesion-centers.

CT Lung ScreenOne of the most modern ways of the early recognition of lung cancer is a CT cheast screen.Lung CT tests contain tomographies which are perpendicular to the longitudinal plane, and with modern devices it results even 1mm slice-width images.

Thus, not only larger lesion-centers but diffuse diseases of the whole lung (e.g. fibrosis) becomes scanned.

What are the advantages of CT lung screening?

Among the tumor diseases, it is the lung cancer that takes the most victims and in the previous years there has been no significant changes as for the survival rate. For screening tests breast X-ray can be applied, but usually it is not effective enough and in some cases the lesions become detected within 12 months later of a negative breast X-ray test. It can happen because of diagnostic errors, faster tumor growth or not correct test methods as well. Late recognition of diseases can damage the chances of survival.

Exposure of low dose CT lung examinations is the half of the average annual dosage of natural radiation.

How can lung cancer be recognized in time by CT lung screen?

CT Lung Screen However, lung cancer is mostly the easiest to avoid it is the most common tumor disease in Hungary, as one of the main risk factor of it is smoking. Previously, it used to be common among men but recently is has been common also among women. According to the Hungarian National Cancer Registry there are 8000 people diagnosed every year.

Early recognition of lung cancer can improve survival chances and low-dose CT lung screen can cause significant improvement.

CT tests provide opportunity for either monitoring lesion centers or–with suitable technical background–histologic examinations as well.

What other examinations exist to diagnose lung cancer?

PET-CT scan plays a significant role in the early recognition of lung cancer, moreover, it is important from several other aspects.

PET-CT helps identify malignant or benign lung shadows diagnosed by other examinations. It is very important from the aspect of taking a histologic sample and also the location of that. In all cases the whole-body screening test determines the extension of the tumor and by one test, further metastatic spread of tumor cells can also be excluded.

Based on residue data from literature, the additional information due to PET-CT has changed the disease stage of 46% of the malignant lung diseases and 58% of the previously recommended treatment (Seltzer, et al., J Nucl. Med., 2002).

It means that results of PET-CT tests have changed the further treatment in every second cases.

It is also important to notice that lung cancer is not an integrated disease. Today there are more than twenty types of lung cancer identified. The two main types of it are the small-cell and the non-small-cell carcinomas with different treatment and survival chances as well.

What is the difference between the two types of lung cancer?

CT Lung ScreenThe small-cell carcinoma is an aggressive tumor with fast growth, it has been named after its microscopic appearance (oat cell) and it covers 20% of lung cancers. The other type is the non-small-cell carcinoma which has three subtypes such as adenocarcinoma, planocellular carcinoma and gigantocellular carcinoma. It covers 80% of lung cancers.

What are the possible treatment methods for clinically proved cancerous lung lesions? Does PET-CT help in the treatment process?

Regarding the treatment of malignant lung lesions, surgeries, chemotherapies and also radiation therapies can also be considered. It is determined by the correct histologic diagnosis and the stage of disease together.

PET-CT plays an important role in determining the correct stage (whether there are further metastatic spreads of tumor cells) and also in the follow-up that means to scan recurrences in the early stage and in a responsible way. It must be noticed that lung cancer is the disease where the planning of PET-CT radiation treatment is the most effective.

How often is it advisable to take CT lung screen? What is the common recommendation for PET/CT tests?

For high-risk patients (smokers or who have given up smoking) low dose lung screen is advisable to take annually. If CT results pathological changes, further follow-ups are needed in the form of monthly checkups or samplings.

We must mention that most of the randomly detected lesion centers in the lung are mostly benign lesions and checkup is enough annually. Regarding the course of disease, PET-CT tests are recommended by the medical practitioners according to the principles of large international organizations.

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