Lung Cancer Screening - Frequently Asked Questions

Who should get a lung cancer screening?

People at high risk for lung cancer should be screened. You may be eligible for annual lung cancer screening if you meet ALL of these criteria:

  • You are between the ages of 50-80
  • You have 20 pack-years of smoking or more
  • You currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years
How will I be screened for lung cancer?

People at high risk of developing lung cancer but who show no existing signs or symptoms of the disease should schedule a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scanning of the chest. A computed tomography scan—also known as a CT scan or CAT scan—uses computer-controlled X-rays to create three-dimensional images of the body while only exposing you to a minimal amount of radiation.

Do I need to prepare for a low-dose CT?

No, not at all. There is no preparation required for this screening. You just need to be able to lie still. The whole procedure takes under 10 minutes, and you can wear your regular clothes.

How will I find out the results of my lung cancer screening?

Patients at Fox Chase Cancer Center will receive their results at their appointment on the same day as their scan. Patients at Temple University Hospital locations will receive their results within just a few days. If your screening shows something that needs more evaluation, our team of specialists will help you schedule the appropriate follow-up test for you.

Is a chest X-ray the same as getting screened by low-dose CT?

No. The only recommended screening test for lung cancer is a low-dose CT. Regular chest X-rays have been studied as a screening test for people at higher risk for lung cancer. They haven’t been shown to help most people live longer, so they are not recommended for regular screening.

Are there any risks to lung cancer screening?

Screening for lung cancer can find small lung nodules that may be cancer, but require additional testing to be sure. This can cause anxiety for many people.

However, for high risk patients, the benefits of lung cancer screening outweigh these risks.

How often do I need to be screened for lung cancer?

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that all people who meet the eligibility criteria for lung cancer screening be screened once a year.

Does my health insurance cover a low-dose CT scan?

Most insurance carriers cover this preventive service. We are committed to working with you, your doctor and your insurance carrier to make sure you have full access to our services. You may also qualify for financial assistance.

Why should I go to Fox Chase Cancer Center or the Temple Lung Center for my lung cancer screening?

Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Temple Lung Center, two of Philadelphia’s world-class health centers, have joined together to provide the most comprehensive and expert lung care in the region. This multispecialty approach to diagnosis and treatment of all lung conditions helps ensure that you will get the best care, tailored to your specific needs.

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