Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much radiation will I receive?
American Diagnostics Medical uses the lowest possible dose of radiation that is necessary to obtain accurate CT scan results. In the past, radiation exposure and cancer risk were believed to have a direct linear relationship. Experts in the field used to think that the amount of radiation received during medical and daily activities, no matter how low, increased the risk of cancer.
Many throughout the industry have since waivered from this theory (highlighted in the “How is ultra-low dose radiation safer?” section of the “Ultra-low Dose Radiation Tab”). The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study concluded that, when doses of radiation are sufficiently low, DNA cells are capable of repairing themselves back to normal. At high levels of radiation, DNA cells are unable to successfully complete the reparation process, which often leads to complications.
We strive for the lowest radiation dose in the country and look to lower our dose every day. We are proud to say that our radiation dose is far smaller than the industry standard, helping to keep our patients’ concerns assured.
2. Do you accept my insurance?
We participate with most major medical insurance companies including: Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna (All PPOs), United Health Care(PPO), Oxford (PPO), GHI, Cigna, HIP, Magnacare.
If you do not see your insurance company listed, please give us a call. We frequently add new companies and they may not have been added to our list.
3. I’ve been smoking 1.5 packs/day for the past 10 years, am I at risk for lung cancer?
Those of smoke are typically more at risk to develop lung cancer than those who don’t, but there are varying levels of risk based on numerous aspects of your daily lifestyle.
Cigarette smoking is strongly associated with lung cancer and has been for decades. One of the primary ways to determine how at risk you are is to quantify your cigarette smoking in pack years. The number of pack years is a way to determine how much a person has smoked over a long period of time, and is calculated by multiplying the amount of packs smoked per day (1.5) by the amount of years (10). So, if you smoke 1.5 packs per day for 10 years, you have a 15 pack-year smoking history.
Calculating pack years allows doctors to identify high-risk patients and treat them accordingly. Obviously, the best way to lower your risk of lung cancer is to quit smoking or never start.
Smoking is also associated with many other diseases and complications that American Diagnostics Medical is committed to treating and preventing. The risk of developing embolism, fibrosis and emphysema are all affected by cigarette smoke. Cardiovascular complications such as coronary heart disease, stroke, heart attack and failure, arrhythmia and others are correlated with tobacco smoking as well.
4. What is early detection?
Early detection is one of the primary focuses at American Diagnostics Medical due to a simple concept: The earlier cancer is detected, the better chance you have of survival.
The success rate of detecting early-stage cancer via CT scans is extremely high (85 percent according to the New England Journal of Medicine’s study included in the “Early Detection Tab”) and can result in a 10-year survival rate of 88 percent.
As indicated in the NEJM’s study, if cancer is found and treated within the first month of stage I diagnosis, the survival rate hovers around 90 percent. Results vary among patients, but one idea remains constant: Catch the cancer early, and survival rates skyrocket.
5. Do I have to go into a tunnel for my CT scan?
No, the CT scan we use at ADM is different from an MRI scan in which you could be in a tunnel. A typical CT scan of the chest is less than 15 seconds. Instead of being put through a tunnel, you are brought through the open, circle-shaped space without entering an enclosed area.
6. Is a pulmonary nodule the same thing as lung cancer?
No. Most pulmonary or lung nodules are benign (non-cancerous) and are not infrequent among patients receiving CT scans (1 in 100), but should still be taken seriously as to characterize them in light of one’s risk factors.
However, the chances of a lung nodule being malignant (cancerous) vary depending on age-range. Among patients who are under 35 and have a lung nodule, only one percent of these nodules are cancerous. But in patients over 50, there is a much higher incidence of cancerous nodules.
If you are a non-smoker, the chances of your lung nodules being cancerous are low, but that does not mean that they shouldn’t be monitored. Consult your general practitioner or give us a call to set up an appointment so you can know for sure.
7. Do you accept credit cards?
We are currently in the middle of a process that will allow us to accept credit cards from our patients. Please call our office for additional and more up to date information.
8. Who sees my diagnostics scan?
Using a method that is unique to our practice, each diagnostics scan performed at American Diagnostics medical is review by both a thoracic surgeon and a radiologist. This offers two different perspectives on a patient’s prognosis, as well as ensures no mistakes will be made in making the analysis.
9. How often do I need a CT scan?
The time between your CT scans depend on the CT findings and your risk factors. High-risk patients, such as first responders and smokers, should be screened more often than others.
Screening intervals also depend on whether you have been diagnosed with lung cancer.
10. What are your hours?
We are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
11. What is the process for finding out if I have lung cancer?
If you think you may be at risk, the first step is to consult your primary care physician. A course of action will depend on your general practitioner’s suspicions and findings for diagnosis and/or treatment.
Step one is to undergo a CT scan. At ADM, our CT scans use ultra-low dose radiation and the results are analyzed in house by our doctors while you wait. After reviewing your scan, our doctors will explain the findings and formulate the next course of action.
12. I have been diagnosed with lung cancer, now what?
After you are diagnosed with lung cancer, you need to remain positive and speak with a thoracic surgeon as soon as possible. Treatment will be determined depending on the stage of your cancer. Prognoses are often very positive if the cancer is detected early on when it is still localized, which is why it is crucial to get screened.
13. I had lung cancer, can I get it again?
Yes. This is especially true in former smokers, who have already exposed all their lungs to tobacco smoke.