Why lung screening?
Lung screening was originally introduced in Europe in the early nineteenth century following the devastating pulmonary tuberculosis disease (TB).
One of the characteristics of this terribly infectious disease that has decimated families and larger communities is that it is asymptomatic for a long period of time. Thus, it was very significant when, due to a perchance chest x-ray, early signs of tuberculosis were observed in an otherwise healthy appearing individuals.
By the end of the 20th Century, the disease had been discovered during screening examinations in 60%-70% of the patients suffering from tuberculosis. This also resulted in an increase in lung cancer cases since many were diagnosed during the course of screening for tuberculosis.
What does the screening entail?
The main weapon against lung cancer is early detection and diagnosis. Screening examinations and, its modern equivalent, the CT scan makes this possible. The patient is placed within the Computer Tomography equipment following which images of the chest, measuring only a few millimeters in thickness are prepared perpendicular to the body's midline. The images, thus, are not projected upon each other and allow for the smallest details to be examined.
The state-of-the-art, new generation, so-called multi-slice CT scans are capable now of even greater resolution with lower radiation. During the time it takes to breathe in, complete detailed image sequences of the chest (lungs, heart, ribs, etc.) may be prepared.
Digitalization makes it possible to also store the images and, with the help of various reconstructive and 3D techniques, examine the heart, lungs and bony structures of the chest, at a later date.