CT lung cancer screening can detect lung cancer at its earliest, when it's most treatable. Recent studies show that finding lung cancer early can improve chances of survival by 20 percent.
Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives!
New technology can detect lung cancer earlier
Your doctor or an other qualified provider must evaluate you and provide a referral for lung cancer screening.
Who can have the screening?
You are eligible if you:
- Are 55 - 80 years old
- Are a current smoker
- Are a former smoker who has quit in the past 15 years
- Have a history of at least 30 pack-years* of smoking
* Pack-years means: (number of packs smoked per day) x (number of years smoked). For example, a person who smoked two packs of cigarettes per day for 20 years has a history of 40 pack years of smoking. This person would be eligible for lung cancer screening.
You may be eligible if you:
- Have been exposed to asbestos
- Have been exposed to other occupational hazards like silica, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium, chromium, diesel fumes, nickel, coal smoke or soot
Who cannot have the screening?
You are not eligible for lung cancer screening if you:
- Have signs and symptoms of lung cancer
- Have been treated for lung cancer
- Are unable or unwilling to undergo treatment if lung cancer is found
In three of every 10 people, screening will find a minor abnormality, but most of these are nothing to worry about. Some people will need further testing or procedures to confirm this. These tests may require more time and expense. Occasionally, a biopsy is needed. The exam uses radiation to capture images, but radiation exposure is a very small health risk for people older than 55.
Most insurers and Medicare will cover the cost of lung cancer screening as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. If you are interesting in the screening, but are not sure if you are eligible, your health care provider can help by evaluating you.
We encourage you to check with your insurance provider before having the CT scan.
1. The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and conducted by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) and the Lung Cancer Study Group.
2. Recent study published in NEJM, lung cancer diagnosed at stage 1 resulted in a survival rate of 88% at a projected 10 years. N England J Med 2006;355:17