What Do I Need to Know about Lung Cancer Screening?
You could be saved by the scan
- Lung cancer screening can help find lung cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat.
- At this time, studies have shown that a low-dose CT scan is the only lung cancer screening tool that reduces the risk of dying from lung cancer.
- Lung cancer screening is not right for everyone.
One reason why lung cancer is so serious is that, by the time you have symptoms, it has likely already spread and has become more difficult to treat. Screening is looking for cancer before you have any symptoms, which can help find cancer at an early stage when it may be easier to treat.
Early detection of lung cancer can save lives for those at high risk and in turn, reduce the lung cancer burden in the United States. Lung cancer screening for those at high risk needs to be part of preventive care strategy to catch more lung cancers early and significantly improve the low survival rates.
To help determine whether or not a screening test is recommended, scientists study screening tests to find those with the fewest risks and most benefits. They look at results over time to see if finding cancer early decreases one's chances of dying from the disease. Data show that screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) reduces the risk of dying from lung cancer in the high-risk population studied. Other screening tests such as chest X-rays and sputum cytology have not been found to be effective, and are not recommended for screening.
Resources for You
You may have many questions when considering screening for lung cancer. These resources can help you understand lung cancer screening.
Help spread the word about the importance of lung cancer screening. Visit SavedByTheScan.org to share your screening story and learn how you can get involved.
Should You Get Screened for Lung Cancer?
- Is Lung Cancer Screening Right for Me?
View this Q and A about lung cancer screening.
- Lung Cancer Screening Eligibility Quiz
Take this quiz to see if lung cancer screening is recommended for you.
- What to Expect from a Lung Cancer Screening
Learn about the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening and what you can expect from the process.
Talk with a Loved One about Screening
- Follow these pointers for discussing lung cancer screening with a friend or loved one who might be at high risk for lung cancer.
Why Lung Cancer Screening Isn't for Never Smokers
- Read this Each Breath blog post to better understand how screening tests are developed and the science behind the high-risk criteria.
Tools for Scheduling a Screening
- Talking with Your Doctor about Screening for Lung Cancer
If you are at high risk and lung cancer screening is recommended, take this printout to your doctor to discuss next steps.
- What to Look for in a Lung Cancer Screening Facility
If you are eligible for lung cancer screening, this guide can help you find an experienced lung cancer screening facility.
Lung Cancer Screening Insurance Coverage
- Is Lung Cancer Screening Covered Under Your Insurance?
Learn about lung cancer screening for each insurance type in an easy to understand way.
- Lung Cancer Screening Insurance Checklist
Use these talking points to discuss lung cancer screening coverage with your insurance company.
- Lung Cancer Screening Coverage Chart
Learn about lung cancer screening for each insurance plan type.
- Medicare Coverage for Lung Cancer Screening: Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to many commons questions about Medicare and lung cancer screening coverage.
For Health Professionals
- Should My Patient Be Screened?
Review the criteria to determine if your patient is eligible for lung cancer screening.
- Talking with Your Patients about Screening for Lung Cancer
Use this document from the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) to discuss lung cancer screening with your patients.
- Implementation Guide for Lung Cancer Screening
How to design, implement, and conduct a lung cancer screening program based on a survey of experts representing a diversity of institutions throughout the United States.
Lung Association Position Statements
- American Lung Association Statement on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Decision Regarding Coverage on LDCT Screening
Read the Lung Association's response to Medicare's decision to cover lung cancer screening.
- Providing Guidance on Lung Cancer Screening to Patients and Physicians
This report (April 2015) is an update on lung cancer screening from the American Lung Association Lung Cancer Screening Committee.
Lung Cancer Screening Eligibility QuizLearn more
Communicating with Your Lung Cancer Care TeamDownload
Is Lung Cancer Screening Right For Me?Download
Lung Cancer Insurance ChartDownload
Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed December 18, 2017.
Page Last Updated: September 13, 2018