You get these checked regularly. What about your lungs?

Watch a Short Video About Yearly Lung Cancer Screening

Download a guide on low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening
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Lung Cancer Screening Resources for Healthcare Professionals

Visit the resources page to download materials on lung cancer screening.

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What is Lung Cancer Screening?

Lung cancer screening is a regular preventive health check, like a mammogram or a colonoscopy. A lung cancer screening checks your lungs while you are healthy and looks for any changes from year to year.1-3

If your doctor recommends lung cancer screening, it doesn't mean he or she thinks you have cancer. In fact, most people who get screened do not have cancer.1,3-5

Who Should Get Screened for Lung Cancer?

Screening is recommended for people who are at high risk. Patients at high risk meet all of the following criteria6:

Are 55 to 80 years old
Are currently smoking or have quit within the last 15 years
Have a smoking history of ≥30 pack-years

To find out your number of pack-years,
number of cigarette
packs smoked per day
(1 pack = 20 cigarettes)

number of years
you have smoked

Why Screen for Lung Cancer?

A lung cancer screening may find nothing, or it may find something before you have symptoms1,3,7
If a lung cancer screening finds something unusual, it may be able to find it at an early stage2,8
Survival rates are better when lung cancer is found at an early stage
An LDCT scan is recommended as part of a yearly health check for people at high risk for lung cancer3,9

LDCT Screening Is

Recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF): Grade B (high certainty that the net benefit is moderate or there is moderate certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial)6
Endorsed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)7

What Happens During a Lung Cancer Screening?

During the screening, an LDCT scan creates a detailed 3-D picture of your lungs. While this scan will expose you to a low dose of radiation, LDCT uses 75% less radiation than a traditional CT scan and shows more detail than a standard chest X-ray. An LDCT scan is the only method recommended for lung cancer screening.2,3,9,10

An LDCT scan takes about 10 minutes, and no medicines or needles are required.2,11,12

What if I'm Worried About the Results?

It is normal to have anxiety about lung cancer screening (sometimes called "scanxiety"). It is important to know that about 75% of people screened will test negative for lung cancer.4,13

Even a positive result typically does not mean you have lung cancer—it may just be a false alarm (a "false positive").4,7

The American College of Radiology recently created a new standard for LDCT screenings and reports called Lung-RADS (Lung Imaging and Reporting Data System). This new standard has resulted in fewer false positives, as well as fewer unnecessary follow-up scans and procedures.14

Most People Screened Do Not Have Cancer14

*Based on a review of data from the National Lung Screening Trial using Lung-RADS criteria.

If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, you have more options than ever before.15,16 Your healthcare provider will help you choose the best path forward.

Are You Covered?

Lung cancer screening is covered by Medicare for patients 55 to 77 years old and by most commercial insurance plans for patients 55 to 80 years old.17,18

If you do not have insurance, certain state or local agencies may provide screening at no or a low cost.19


The GO2 Foundation provides helpful lung cancer screening information and can help you locate screening centers across the United States.

Check out the Screening Centers page on the GO2 Foundation Website for additional information.

Your health matters. Talk to your doctor to find out if lung cancer screening is right for you.

Explore screening resources


National Cancer Institute. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: screening. NCI website. Accessed September 28, 2018.
American Cancer Society. Can non-small cell lung cancer be found early? ACS website. Revised May 16, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2018.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lung cancer screening programs. CDC website. Accessed September 28, 2018.
The National Lung Screening Trial Research Team. Reduced lung-cancer mortality with low-dose computed tomographic screening. N Engl J Med. 2011;365(5):395-409.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Talking with your patients about screening for lung cancer. Think.Screen.Know. website. Accessed September 28, 2018.
Moyer VA; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for lung cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(5):330-338.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Decision memo for screening for lung cancer with low dose computed tomography (LDCT) (CAG-00439N). CMS website. Published February 5, 2015. Accessed September 28, 2018.
American Cancer Society. Non-small cell lung cancer survival rates, by stage. ACS website. Updated May 16, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2018.
LUNGevity Foundation. Screening & early detection. LUNGevity Foundation website. Updated March 4, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2018.
National Cancer Institute. Computed tomography (CT) scans and cancer. NCI website. Updated July 16, 2013. Accessed September 28, 2018.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Lung cancer screening information for patients. BIDMC website. Accessed September 28, 2018.
Massachusetts General Hospital. Lung screening: FAQ for patients. MGH website. Accessed September 28, 2018.
Feiler B. Scanxiety. Time.,28804,2075133_2075127_2075107,00.html. Published June 2, 2011. Accessed September 28, 2018.
Pinsky PF, Gierada DS, Black W, et al. Performance of Lung-RADS in the National Lung Screening Trial: a retrospective assessment. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(7):485-491.
American Cancer Society. What’s new in non-small cell lung cancer research? ACS website. Revised May 16, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2018.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How is lung cancer diagnosed and treated? CDC website. Updated July 21, 2014. Accessed September 28, 2018.
U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Your Medicare coverage: lung cancer screening. Medicare website. Accessed September 28, 2018.
U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Preventive care benefits for adults. HealthCare website. Accessed September 28, 2018.
Breath of Life Foundation. Low-dose CT screening sites. Breath of Life Foundation website. Accessed September 28, 2018.
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