Screening is when you get tested for a disease even though you may have no symptoms and generally feel fine. Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT can help find lung cancer early, when the cancer may be smaller and easier to treat. When cancer is found early, treatment has the best chance of working.
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers and is the leading cause of cancer death in Ontario. Up to 85% of lung cancers are caused by smoking cigarettes.
“In the past, there wasn’t a lot that could be done to cure a person with lung cancer, because it was often found at a later stage. Now there’s a test to find lung cancer early, when the cancer may be smaller and easier to treat.”
- Dr. Gail Darling, Lung Surgeon, University Health Network
You may qualify for lung cancer screening if you are 55 to 74 years old and you have smoked cigarettes daily for at least 20 years in total, even if you are not smoking now.
Your risk of getting lung cancer goes up the more you smoke cigarettes and the longer you smoke them.
To find out if you qualify for lung cancer screening, contact your healthcare provider or call the lung cancer screening centre at Health Sciences North (HSN) at 1-844-703-0164. A hospital staff member (called a navigator) will ask you some questions over the phone.
If you qualify for lung cancer screening and don’t have a family doctor, the hospital will help find you one, so that you can get screened.
If you qualify for screening, you will be offered a special type of computed tomography (CT) scan that uses a small amount of radiation. This test is called a low-dose CT scan. Getting screened with a low-dose CT scan is the best way to find lung cancer early when it may be easier to treat.
During a low-dose CT scan, you lie on an open table that passes slowly through a large donut-shaped machine called a “scanner”. The scanner takes detailed pictures of your lungs. The test only takes a few minutes and is not painful. There are no medications or needles given during the test.
Starting June 2017, lung cancer screening will be available to people who qualify at HSN, one of three locations in Ontario, as part of a Cancer Care Ontario pilot.
Where We Are Located
We are located at the Ramsey Lake Health Centre.
For information about parking at HSN, please click here.
Instructions on how to prepare
Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment as you will be required to register. Don’t forget to bring your health card.
Prepare to spend approximately 3 hours at the Hospital for your lung cancer screening appointment. Wear comfortable clothing, bring a snack and beverage and something to keep busy (i.e. book).
Waiting for results
The hospital will make every effort to give you your screening test results the same day that you have your scan. The results of your scan will also be sent to your doctor. The hospital staff will be there to support you. You can also bring a friend or family member with you.
Josée Gareau - Navigator
Getting screened with a low-dose CT scan is the best way to find lung cancer early, when it may be smaller and easier to treat. However, screening tests are not perfect and can have risks. You will get information about the risks and benefits of screening at your screening appointment to help you decide whether you want to have the CT scan.
If you are 55 to 74 years old and have smoked cigarettes daily for at least 20 years in total, talk to your healthcare provider or call 1-844-703-0164 to see if you qualify for lung cancer screening.
Quitting smoking is the best way to lower your chance of getting lung cancer. If you stop smoking, you will greatly reduce your chance of getting many diseases and dying early.
If you smoke and are referred for lung cancer screening, you will be offered services to help you quit.
If you do not qualify for screening, you will still be offered services to help you quit.
There are many available services that can help you with quitting smoking, many at no charge. You will learn more at your visit.
Quitting can be hard, but it is possible, and you are more likely to succeed if you get help. Getting help can maki it easier to stop. At any time you can reach out to Smokers’ Helpline for support by calling 1-877-513-5333 or by going to the website at www.smokershelpline.ca.
The following are a list of possible lung cancer signs and symptoms – it is important to see your health care provider if you notice any of the following:
A new cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse.
Chest pain that is often worse when you breathe deeply, cough or laugh.
A hoarse voice.
Unexplained weight loss and/or loss of appetite.
Coughing up blood or rust-coloured spit or phlegm.
Shortness of breath.
Infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, that do not go away or keep coming back.