What to Look for in a Lung Cancer Screening Facility
If you are at high risk for lung cancer and you and your doctor determine that you should be screened, it is important that you receive your low-dose CT (LDCT) scan at a facility with staff who have expertise in lung cancer screening. Ask your doctor to recommend a facility that meets the requirements below or research a facility on your own. Either way, ask these key questions of the facility to ensure you are receiving the best care possible.
Questions to Ask the Screening Facility about Low-dose CT Scans
- Does the facility perform low-dose CT scans with the technical requirements outlined by the American College of Radiology (ACR)?
The ACR outlines very specific requirements for the technology used to perform the low-dose CT scan. The facility you choose should be familiar with these requirements and abide by them.
- Can you ensure my scan will be read by a board certified or board eligible radiologist who has read at least 300 chest CT scans in the past three years?
It is important to have a radiologist who is highly trained reading your scans. The doctor should be certified by a professional board and have read at least 300 low-dose CT scans in the past three years.
- Can you ensure the radiologist reading my scan has documented training in radiology and radiation safety and has the appropriate documented continuing medical education?
By making sure your radiologist is trained in radiology and radiation safety and has received continuing medical education, you can be more confident you will get an accurate read of your scan.
Questions to Ask about Communication
- Will a doctor at your facility work with me to review all of the risks and benefits of lung cancer screening to help me decide if it is right for me?
Either a doctor at the facility or your referring doctor will discuss the results with you. You can ask who you can expect to hear from regarding the results. When you clearly understand the risks and benefits of low-dose CT scan, you can work with your doctor to make the best decision for you.
- Will a trained healthcare professional clearly explain my results and help me determine next steps?
A trained healthcare professional at the facility should take the time to explain the results to you and what they mean. They should also be prepared to work with you and other doctors (if necessary) to make a plan for next steps.
Questions to Ask about Services and Coverage
- Can you tell me if my insurance covers this scan and about any other costs I might incur?
The facility staff should tell you exactly what your insurance plan covers and if you can expect any out-of-pocket costs for the actual scan or other fees such as follow-up procedures or facility fees. You should double check this information with your insurance company and use the Insurance Checklist to know what questions to ask.
- Do you have smoking cessation interventions or referrals available for current smokers?
If you smoke, now it a great time to quit smoking. The facility you choose should have resources available to assist you with this transition.
Searching for a Facility Online
- The ACR has a registry of accredited LDCT Facilities. To find one near you, visit AcrAccreditation.org/accredited-facility-search. For Modality select "Computed Tomography" and for Designation select "Lung Cancer Screening Center."
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Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed December 18, 2017.