Lung cancer screening is done using an imaging machine to produce a low-dose spiral (or helical) CT (Computed Tomography) scan of the chest. This scan uses a series of x-rays to show the shape, size and location of anything abnormal in the chest that might signal the need for follow up. LDCT scans are very sensitive and can show both cancerous and non-cancerous areas.
To get a LDCT scan, you will lie very still on a table, which is slowly moved through the scanner. An x-ray machine rotates around you and takes pictures from many angles. A computer then combines the pictures into a very detailed image. The procedure takes less than 30 seconds. There are no medications or injections needed and there is no need to stop eating or drinking before the exam. As long as your clothing does not contain metal, you may not even have to change. It is important, however, that you are able to hold your breath for several seconds. That way, your lungs will not move during the scan and the images will be clear.
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