LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A local hospital system is offering a service that can detect the early stages the lung cancer which is key to a higher chance of successful treatment.

MountainView Hospital and Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are using CT technology to screen patients. While the technology has been around for a while, it hasn’t been widely available or affordable for most people.

The screening looks for lung nodules, or spots in the lungs that usually have no symptoms but can be an early indication of lung cancer.

There had been scientific studies that have shown dramatic improvement in lung cancer survival with the use of a CT scanner.

“It wasn’t available in a widespread manner in the past due to expense but as technology has increased, each CT scan becomes a little bit more affordable. Also, Medicare insurance says this is important so we need to start covering the CT scans so maybe patients with the appropriate insurance don’t have to pay for the whole screening,” said Dr. Arnold Chung, Sunrise Health System’s Lung Nodule Program medical director.

Dr. Chung said until now, about 85% of lung nodules are found while looking for broken bones, pneumonia, and COVID-19.

Patients between the ages of 55 and 75 with an extensive smoking history are at high risk for lung cancer.

While lung disease remains the leading cause of cancer deaths among both women and men, over the past five years, the survival rate has increased by 14% nationally to nearly 24%. However, it remains significantly lower among communities of color at 20%, according to the American Lung Association.