Getting Screened

About the low-dose CT scan

A low-dose CT scan is a special kind of X-ray that takes multiple pictures as you lie on a table that slides in and out of the machine. A computer then combines these images into a detailed picture of your lungs.

A study on early detection of lung cancer found that only the low-dose CT scan can reduce mortality for those at high risk. If you’re a current or former smoker over the age of 55, you could be at risk.

Doctor discussion guide

If you complete the quiz and qualify for a screening, we will give you a printout to take to your doctor to start the conversation.

Take the Quiz

Insurance coverage

The initial scan will be covered without co-pay if you meet the high-risk criteria and are 55–80 years old and have private insurance, or are 55–77 years old and have Medicare.

Download Chart

Understanding the results

A “positive” result means that the low-dose CT scan shows something abnormal. This is usually a nodule of a concerning size. You may need to have additional scans or other procedures to find out exactly what it is.

These next steps should be discussed with you by your physician and/or the team of experts at the screening center.

A “negative” result means there were no abnormal findings at this time on this scan. Your doctor should discuss when and if you should be tested again.

There may also be an “indeterminate” result, and your doctor may recommend watchful follow-up and further imaging at a later time.

The best way to prevent lung cancer is to never smoke, or stop smoking now. If you are still smoking, talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit smoking. Visit Lung.org/freedom-from-smoking for quitting support through our online programs and in-person support groups, or call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.