Low-Dose CT Scan Screening for Lung Cancer

What is a Low-Dose CT Scan?

A low-dose computed tomography (low-dose CT or LDCT) scan is currently the only recommended screening tool for detection of lung cancer. Low-dose CT uses an X-ray machine to take multiple images of your chest to create a detailed 3D image of your lungs and uses a minimal amount of radiation. During this noninvasive test, you’ll lie fully clothed on a table that slides in and out of the CT machine. Specialized radiologists and pulmonologists from Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Temple Lung Center will review the test for signs of lung cancer or other conditions.

Preparation, Results and Follow-Up

Lung cancer screening does not require any preparation. All that is required is to lie down. The whole procedure takes about 10 minutes.

You will receive your lung cancer screening results during the same day at our Fox Chase Cancer Center location or within a few days at our Temple University Hospital locations.

If a lung nodule or other abnormality is identified during a screening visit, we have experienced lung specialists who can help you determine what your next step should be.

Benefits and Risks of Lung Cancer Screening

The earlier lung cancer is identified, the better chance of a successful treatment outcome. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. For many patients, by the time lung cancer signs and symptoms develop, it is too advanced to be treated effectively. Studies show lung cancer screening reduces the risk of dying of lung cancer.

However, as with all medical care, there are some potential risks or concerns that patients may experience. These include:

  • Anxiety caused by abnormal findings
  • Exposure to extremely low doses of radiation
  • False positive findings that may lead to unnecessary test or follow-up

For most high-risk patients, the benefits of lung cancer screening far outweigh the risks noted above.

A national study of lung cancer from the National Institute of Health found that screening for lung cancer using low-dose CT scan can lower the chances of dying from lung cancer by 20%.


Screening for lung cancer may or may not be covered by your health plan.

First find out if your insurance is accepted at Fox Chase. We are committed to working with you, your doctors and insurance carrier to make sure you have full access to all the services.

You may also qualify for financial assistance. Our financial counselors are available to answer any of your questions.

Scheduling Information

A screening specialist will arrange a prescreen visit to answer your questions and a second visit where we will perform the low-dose CT scan. At Fox Chase, you will also receive your results the same day, while at other Temple locations you will receive your results within a few days.

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Lung Cancer Screening Locations

Schedule a lung cancer screening at a location most convenient to you.

Study Findings Point to Benefits of Low-Dose CT Scan Screening

A national study of lung cancer from the National Institute of Health found that screening for lung cancer using low-dose chest CT scan can lower the chances of dying from lung cancer by 20%.

The goal of the study was to help find lung cancers early when they may be more treatable. The study, which called for at least three CT scans at various times, was conducted with smokers or past smokers, ages 55 to 74, who smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for at least 30 years. Approximately 200 out of 1,000 people screened during a three-year period had abnormal CT scans. After more studies, lung cancer was found in about 30 of those 300 people.

This means that about 270 out of 1,000 screened people had false positive findings. In other words, something abnormal was found that needed follow up, but was not cancer. For some of these people, this may have led to unnecessary tests or treatments that may have had certain risks.