Low Dose CT Scan for Lung Carcinoma Screening

Low Dose CT Scan for Lung Carcinoma Screening
  • In lung cancer screening, individuals who have a high risk of developing lung cancer but no signs or symptoms of the disease undergo low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scanning of the chest.
  • CT scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple, cross-sectional images or pictures of the inside of the body. LDCT produces images of sufficient quality to detect many lung diseases and abnormalities using up to 90 percent less ionizing radiation than a conventional chest CT scan.
  • Based on the NLST results and other studies, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, American Lung Association, American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American Society of Clinical Oncologists, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society and the American Cancer Society all now recommend that individuals at high risk for developing lung cancer consider annual screening with LDCT.
  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a draft recommendation in favor of annual screening for lung cancer with LDCT in persons at high risk for lung cancer based on age and smoking history. For more information, please visit Be sure to check back at for updates.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final national coverage determination that provides for Medicare coverage of Screening for Lung Cancer with Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT).
  • Medicare will now cover lung cancer screening with LDCT once per year for Medicare beneficiaries who meet all of the following criteria:
    • they are age 55-77, and are either current smokers or have quit smoking within the last 15 years;
    • they have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 "pack years" (an average of one pack a day for 30 years); and
    • they receive a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner that meets certain requirements.
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  • If you have questions about lung cancer screening, it may be helpful to discuss with your physician and refer to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for lung cancer screening.
  • Risk Factors for Lung Cancer
  • Anything that increases an individual’s chances of developing disease is called a risk factor. Risk factors for lung cancer include:
    • tobacco smoking
    • contact with radon, asbestos or other cancer-causing agents
    • a personal history of smoking related cancer
    • a family history of lung cancer
    • certain chronic lung diseases

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