Lung Cancer Screening

Detecting lung cancer early in current and former smokers

If you are a current or former smoker, you’re at risk for lung cancer. If doctors find the disease early, when the tumor is located only in the lungs, up to 75 percent of people survive five years or more, and many are cured.

We were part of a national study in 2010 that found CT lung screening resulted in a 20 percent lower chance of dying from lung cancer compared with those screened by chest X-ray. As part of our effort to catch lung cancer early, we offer a CT lung cancer screening at nine locations.

Ready to quit smoking and lower your lung cancer risk? Our tobacco treatment services can start you on the journey to a tobacco-free life.

Am I eligible for a CT scan for lung cancer?

Not all current or former smokers need a CT scan to screen for lung cancer. These scans are recommended for people who:

  • Are 55 to 77 years old
  • Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years
  • Have smoked at least a pack a day for 30 years or more or the equivalent (for example, you may have smoked two packs a day for 15 years)
  • Have a written order from their doctor

Talk with your doctor about whether you may benefit from a CT scan screening for lung cancer. A written order from your doctor is required to schedule an appointment. Medicare requires a "shared decision-making visit" with your provider prior to your screening, Requirements by other insurers vary.

How do CT scans for lung cancer work?

Our screening process has three steps:

  1. CT scan: The CT scan is quick and painless. It uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to create detailed images. You don’t have to worry about receiving too much radiation during screening. Our low-dose CT scan technology means you’ll experience about a quarter of the radiation emitted by standard CT scans.
  2. Scan review: A radiologist will review your CT scan for abnormalities.
  3. Results and follow-up: We will send findings from the CT scan and any recommendations for follow-up to you and your primary care doctor.

Screening for lung cancer is a process, not a single test. Individuals who qualify for lung cancer screening should have a CT scan once a year for three years. If the screening finds abnormalities, we will recommend a follow-up visit with a lung cancer specialist.

Where can I get a CT scan for lung cancer?

You can select the location nearest you to make an appointment for a lung cancer screening:

How do I pay for a CT scan for lung cancer?

Medicare and some private insurance companies cover the cost of lung cancer screening, and more insurers may cover the screenings in the future.

If lung cancer screening is a covered benefit, your insurance provider may have specific requirements related to eligibility and follow-up care. To be eligible for coverage, you will need a written order from a doctor or a qualified nonphysician practitioner. Check with your insurance provider for details.

Are you eligible for lung cancer screening?

If you have questions about eligibility or want to learn more, call us at 313-916-1275.

Clinical Trials

Cancer Institute