To detect lung cancer early, we offer low-dose CT (LDCT) lung cancer screening. Before low-dose CT scans of the lungs, doctors usually found lung cancer once a person developed symptoms. By then, it was much harder to treat.
The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) found that lung cancer deaths dropped by 20 percent when people were screened using LDCT scans compared to chest X-rays. Low-dose CT scans for lung cancer allow doctors to find lung cancer sooner, giving you the best chance for successful treatment.
Who Should Get Lung Cancer Screening?
The NLST recommends low-dose CT scans of the lungs for adults aged 55–77 who:
- Have a 30 or more pack-year history of smoking (A "pack-year" is the number of packs of cigarettes smoked daily, multiplied by the number of years smoking, such as a pack a day for 30 years or 2 packs a day for 15 years.)
- Currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years
- Have no symptoms or history of lung cancer
You won’t qualify for LDCT lung screening if you:
- Are in active radiation or chemotherapy treatment
- Have had a chest CT scan done within a year (You will need to wait one year to have another screening and will need a prescription.)
- Have symptoms of a lung condition, such as a new cough or shortness of breath
What If Your Lung Cancer Screening Finds Cancer?
Finding out you have lung cancer can be difficult. But lung cancer screening increases our ability to find and destroy cancer when it's most treatable. If your screening shows signs of cancer, we help you get what you need to start treatment fast.
To confirm and add necessary details to your diagnosis, we strive to:
- Get you in for imaging within a day
- Collect all the necessary information to create your treatment plan within 72 hours
You should begin treatments within two weeks. Learn more about lung cancer diagnosis.
How Low-Dose CT Scan for Lung Cancer Works
LDCT lung screening is one of the easiest screening exams:
- You don't have to take any medications.
- There are no needles involved.
- It is painless and quick.
During the scan:
- You lie on a table that moves through the CT scanner, a large donut-shaped machine.
- You will be asked to hold your breath for at least six seconds while the machine scans your chest. Your stillness creates clearer images.
- The machine creates images of your chest and lungs that doctors use to detect lung cancers.
If you are in a high-risk group, you may need to have a lung cancer screening exam every year until you:
- Reach age 77
- Have stopped smoking for 15 years
How Much Does Lung Cancer Screening Cost?
LDCT screening is covered by a growing number of insurance plans. Check with your insurance provider to see if you have coverage.
If you’re on Medicare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cover lung cancer screening for those who meet the eligibility requirements.
Find Out If Lung Cancer Screening Is Right for You
To determine if you or a loved one is an appropriate candidate for LDCT lung screenings, take our lung screening assessment.