The result of the examination

The CT scan can be used to look for abnormalities in the lungs that could point to lung cancer. Lung cancer will be found in a small number of people in both groups. 

You will receive the result approximately 3 weeks after the CT scan. There are three potential results: Negative, positive and doubtful. 

What is a negative screening result?

This result means that no indications of lung cancer were found on the CT scan. This is the most commonly encountered result. Approximately 82 in every 100 people will receive a negative test result.  A negative result for the first scan means that you will be invited for a CT scan again until you have completed all CT scans. The study group into which you have been drawn will determine when your next CT scan is. 

What is a positive screening result?

The CT scan shows abnormalities in the lung that point to lung cancer. Further examination by the lung specialist is needed to determine whether it actually involves lung cancer. The size and location of the deviation will determine which examinations are necessary. The lung specialist will discuss this with you when you are referred. 

Approximately 8 in every 100 people receive a positive result. But not all people actually have lung cancer. Of every 2 people who are referred to the lung specialist, 1 person will effectively have lung cancer. If it turns out to be lung cancer, the lung specialist will talk to you about the treatment options.

What is a doubtful screening result?

The CT scan showed a few minor abnormalities in the lungs, which do not immediately point to lung cancer but there are still doubts. This is often inflammation or scarring. To be on the safe side, an extra CT scan will be carried out after approximately 3 months. Approximately 10 in every 100 participants undergo a repeat CT scan. This is not the same as a referral to the lung specialist. A repeat CT scan makes it possible to compare the two CT scans with each other. This makes it possible to measure the speed with which the spot has grown.

Minor spots that have not, or have barely, grown require no further treatment. This will lead to a negative result. Spots that grow quickly are more suspicious. They will result in a positive. 

What if another abnormality is discovered coincidentally?

The CT scan will only show the area around the lungs. We will not look for abnormalities in other organs. However, sometimes the doctor may coincidentally discover another serious abnormality. For example, this could involve cancers other than lung cancer or dilation of the aorta. In this case, further examination will be important for your health. But it may also make you feel worried and uncertain. Treating a severe abnormality that is discovered coincidentally can have very intrusive consequences. However, the condition may also be beyond treatment, which means you will know that you are ill, and also know that doctors can do little to assist you. 

You are free to decide whether we should inform you if other severe abnormalities are encountered on your CT scan. You can mention this on the informed consent. If you provide consent, the study team will inform your GP about the matter. Your GP will then contact you and refer you to a specialist at the hospital.

Even though you indicated that you do not wish to be contacted if an abnormality is discovered coincidentally, the doctor may still do so. This may be done if the doctor believes that not telling you could be dangerous to your health or the health of people around you. Naturally, the doctor will consider this matter carefully and will not make the decision alone. In this case, advice will be requested from an independent committee. These people will have nothing to do with the study. Of course, these people will not be aware of your identity; they will only see a code.