Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines

A lung cancer screening is done with a low-dose CT scan.

Overview

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Early lung cancer seldom causes symptoms; consequently, only about 16% of lung cancer cases are caught in this stage when the cancer is most treatable. When lung cancer is found in its earliest stages, chances for cure and long-term survival are much greater. Since early lung cancer is usually asymptomatic, it is important to get screened if you are high risk.

Following are recommended screening guidelines for lung cancer. Visit our lung cancer page to learn more about this disease.

Standard Guidelines

Lung cancer screening is not recommended in patients who are at average risk.

High Risk Guidelines

The American Lung Association recommends lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans for individuals who meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Current or former smoker (having quit within the past 15 years)
  • Age 55 to 74 years
  • Smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (1 pack/day for 30 years, 2 packs/day for 15 years, etc.)
  • No history of lung cancer

There is no evidence at this time that other high-risk groups (such as those with other lung diseases or exposure to cancer causing agents) should be screened.

Only low-dose CT scans are recommended for lung cancer screening. Chest x-rays are not recommended for this purpose.

More Information

Learn more about the American Lung Association's recommendations for lung cancer screening.

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