Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Smoking cigarettes greatly increases your risk of developing lung cancer, with smoking contributing to 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

What's My Risk?

Number of packs smoked per day Years you have smoked = Packs per year history

You are considered High Risk if you are:

  • current or former smoker age 55-74 AND you have a 30 packs per year history
  • Age 50+ with a 20+ packs per year history plus:
    • Radon or occupational carcinogen exposure (asbestos, arsenic, diesel fumes, etc.)
    • Family history of lung cancer
    • COPD or pulmonary fibrosis
    • Personal history of cancer or lymphoma
  • Have quit smoking in the last 15 years

Low-Dose Lung CT Screening

If you are a smoker or a former smoker, a simple screening at UP Health System - Bell could save your life. The National Lung Screen Trial (NLST) findings reveal that those who received low-dose CT scans had a 20% lower risk of dying from lung cancer than those that received standard chest X-rays. Your doctor may recommend getting an LDCT screening if you are considered high risk for lung cancer.

How LDCT Screening Works

Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) works much like an x-ray exam to produce pictures of your chest and lungs.This high-quality lung screening detects lung abnormalities but with 90 percent less ionizing radiation than a conventional CT scan. If you have a high risk of lung cancer but no signs or symptoms, a LDCT screening could help you catch potentially cancerous spots at their earliest and most treatable stage.

Is Screening Covered by My Insurance?

Medicare now covers the cost of low-dose CT screening for high risk patients. Many private health insurers provide coverage as well. Your physician will give you more specific details about eligibility and costs during your consultation.

Talk to Your Doctor About LDCT

Discuss your medical history and the risks and benefits of the screening with your physician. In order to be covered by Medicare, you must visit your primary care provider and have an order.

Remember… A LDCT screening can detect lung cancer in its earliest stages, but it cannot prevent or cure disease. The only way to stop cancer before it starts is to stop smoking. If you think you may be ready to quit, talk to your primary care provider for guidance and helpful tips.

What You Need To Know

The majority of lung cancers are often caused by cigarette smoking and usually not detected until symptoms develop. By that time, the disease is often more advanced, making treatment much more challenging.

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States
  • Over half of those with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed
  • Low-dose CT scans provide earlier detection when lung cancer is most treatable and curable

What You Can Do

  • If you are a smoker, STOP SMOKING (contact us for smoking cessation help)
  • Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Make your home and work environment smoke-free
  • Test your home for radon
  • Be aware of industrial compounds

If you are still smoking, talk to your physician about ways to help you quit.