What is lung cancer screening?

Lung cancer screening involves examining a large group of people who do not yet have symptoms, but are at high risk of developing lung cancer. This is also referred to as population screening.

By doing so, we hope to detect lung cancer in an early stage among a particular group of people. There is a better chance of the lung cancer being treated if you have not yet encountered any symptoms. You have less chance of dying from lung cancer: early detection and treatment following lung cancer screening can prevent the death of 1 in every 4 people with lung cancer.  

Nonetheless, population screening for lung cancer is still not taking place. Some important questions first need to be answered. Only then can a decision be made about whether population screening for lung cancer can be introduced.

What is a CT scan?

A CT scan is an examination that is based on X-rays. You will lie on an examination bed while a wide X-ray tube moves around your body, creating images. It is possible to create a few images within a couple of seconds.

What does the CT scan mean for you?

You do not have to take many things into consideration. You do not have to make preparations. There is also no need for you to avoid eating. If you take medicines, you can continue as usual. You will experience no pain while the scan is being performed. You will not receive medicines or an injection. You can also keep your clothes on. However, you do have to remove metal objects like jewellery or glasses. If you, for example, have a prosthesis or screws in your body, this will not cause issues when performing the CT scan.

What will happen during the examination?

You will lie on an examination bed during the examination. The lab technician will insert the bed into the wide opening of the CT scanner. You must then remain as still as possible. You will spend a short while alone in the CT scan room, but can continue talking to the lab technician via the intercom. The lab technician can also see you, and will check how you are doing. The lab technician will tell you exactly what you must do, for example, inhale, exhale, cough, and briefly hold your breath. The whole examination takes approximately 10 minutes.

After the examination, you can simply go home and do everything as normal..

Is it dangerous?

You will be exposed to X-rays that can be dangerous. However, the use of radiation is minimised, whereby the likelihood of harmful consequences is very low.

The result of the examination

After the examination, the radiologists will view your lungs on the CT scan. They will look for abnormalities that could indicate lung cancer. Both you and your GP will receive a letter containing the result of the examination. GP’s play an important role if indications of lung cancer are encountered. We think it is important for you to receive the right support and medical care.

If abnormalities are encountered that require further examination, your GP will refer you to a lung specialist for further examination. Further information about the various potential results can be found here.