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Benefits & Limitations

No screening test is perfect. Your lung scan may suggest that you have lung cancer when no cancer is present (false-positive). A false-positive result involves additional follow-ups, sometimes surgery, before it is determined that you do not have cancer. You may experience increased stress and anxiety during this time. 

Your lung scan may also find cases of cancer that are very slow growing and are not expected to cause any problems during your lifetime. This is called overdiagnosis and can lead to treatment that may not benefit you. However, at the time of diagnosis, there is no way for health care professionals to tell whether the cancer will cause any problems without doing additional tests. 

Your lung scan will expose you to a very small amount of radiation, however, the chances of you getting cancer through repeated exposure is very low. A low-dose CT scan uses 5 times less radiation than a regular CT scan and is similar to what you would receive from the natural background (radiation from the sky and ground) over six months.

If you have any symptoms of lung cancer, please talk to your primary care provider. It is important to monitor your health and be aware of any unusual changes - even if there were no concerns found from your recent lung scan. 

Symptoms of lung cancer include: 
  • Coughing that does not go away or gets worse;
  • Coughing up blood or rust-coloured sputum (spit or phlegm); 
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain that is always felt and gets worse with deep breathing or coughing.


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