- Age 55–80?
- A current smoker or former smoker who quit in the last 15 years?
If so, you could be at high risk for lung cancer. Screening for lung cancer is important, since early stage lung cancer often has no symptoms. Talk with your doctor about ordering a lung cancer screening.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is screening like?
Screening for lung cancer includes a low-dose CT scan (a CAT scan) and appropriate follow-up if any abnormal results are found.
A CT scan, unlike a chest x-ray, can produce a 3D image of the lungs. This provides greater clarity and reveals more details than regular x-ray exams. CT scans are able to detect even very small nodules in the lung, especially effective for diagnosing lung cancer at its earliest, most curable stage.
Does insurance pay for screening? What if I don’t have insurance?
Private insurance companies do cover lung cancer screening for high-risk individuals. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also covers screening for those ages 55–77. Self-pay is available for $114.
How do I get screened?
You must have a referral from your doctor for this screening. For a referral, call your provider and indicate that you are interested in a screening CT scan. Together, you can discuss your risk and decide if a screening is right for you.
What happens if something is detected from the scan?
One of our board-certified radiologists will review your screening CT scan. If something abnormal is found, you will be contacted by your physician.
Are there risks to screening?
Radiation exposure is the most common concern among patients undergoing CT scans. Our high-definition, low-dose CT scans use less than 25% of the radiation used in a regular CT scan. The whole process takes less than ten minutes, and you do not need to do anything special to prepare for the screening.
There is approximately a 25% chance that a CT scan will detect a nodule in a high risk individual. Most nodules are benign.
What are the screening benefits?
Screening will show if a pulmonary nodule is present. CT scans alone cannot determine if a nodule is malignant or benign; this will require follow-up with your physician.
Detecting a nodule may require additional CT scans or surgical procedures for further evaluation. Screening could also lead to detection of unrelated diseases—another benefit of low-dose CT scans. However, this may lead to additional testing, treatment and cost. If you are opposed to these, you should reconsider screening.