Lung Cancer Screening Information

In 2010 The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) revealed that participants who received low-dose helical CT scans had a 20.0 percent lower risk of dying from lung cancer than participants who received standard chest X-rays. Since then guidelines from multiple organizations have been established on the use of CT Scans as a form of lung cancer screening.

On July 29, 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced last week that it is planning to recommend the screening of people considered high risk with a low dose CT scan annually to screen for lung cancer. The support of many professional organizations and now the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force means that this very important screening study will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies in the near future to insure the health of their constituents. 

Other organizations, including American Cancer Society, The American College of Chest Physicians/American Society of Clinical Oncology/American Thoracic Society, The American Lung Association and The National Comprehensive Cancer Network also have established guidelines recommending CT screening for lung cancer high-risk individuals.

In November 2014, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decided that Medicare should cover lung cancer screening for seniors at high risk for the disease.  Evidence shows that the test is, and will be, effective in screening the population who uses Medicare.

High risk populations are defined as:

  •  People ages 55-80 with a history of heavy cigarette smoking for at least 30 “pack years”.  For example, people who smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years, or people who smoked two packs per day for 15 years.
  • Currently smoking or having stopped smoking within the past 15 years

If you fall into the high risk category we encourage you to visit your physician and ask about screening. In North Carolina, a lung scan typically costs between $250 and $500. 

View a list of screening sites in North Carolina. 

Visit Should I Screen to use their lung risk calculator to determine if screening is a good choice for you.

Download our Screening Assessment Tool

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