Frequently Asked Questions

Lung Cancer Screening Overview and Eligibility

Lung Cancer Screening Overview and Eligibility

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. The key is early detection.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 92,000 men and 81,000 women are diagnosed each year with cancer of the lungs and bronchi (the air tubes leading to the lungs). Among men, the incidence of lung cancer has been declining; however, lung cancer is the largest cause of cancer deaths for women in the United States, killing an estimated 73,000 women each year - more than breast and ovarian cancers combined.

According to the National Lung Screening Trial, annual screening using low-dose CT reduces lung cancer mortality by 20 percent when compared to annual screening using chest x-ray.

Many times patients decide to take action once they are symptomatic. However, lung cancer symptoms typically present themselves in the late stages. Early detection of a suspicious nodule allows a physician to biopsy and treat the cancer sooner. If your low-dose CT scan is positive for a suspicious nodule, the next step may be to perform a biopsy to diagnose the nodule. If cancer is present, your physician will design a treatment plan specific to you.


High Risk A:
Age 55 and over with a 30 pack year* smoking history that are either a current smoker or has quit within the past 15 years; or,

High Risk B:
Age 50 and over with a 20 pack year* smoking history and one of the following risk factors:

• Close blood relative with lung cancer
• History of pulmonary fibrosis or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)
• History of cancer (excluding non-melanoma of the skin)
• Exposure to cancer causing agents such as, but not limited to:
      • Radon
Coal smoke
Diesel fumes
Agent Orange

*A pack year is the number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked. For example: 1.5 packs a day x 20 years = 30 pack years.

Should I Be Screened?

For those who don't meet the above screening criteria, a physician's order is required. Please speak with your physician or call 888-888-8888 for further guidance and to schedule an appointment with a physician to discuss the risks and benefits of screening.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact your lung health navigator, Lori McClung, at 706.812.2808.