Lung Health FAQ

Lung Cancer Screening with Low-Dose CT frequently asked questions

Yearly lung cancer screening with low-dose CT, or LDCT, has been shown to save lives by finding lung cancer early, when it is easier to treat. The goal of lung screening is to detect lung cancer earlier. Without LDCT lung screening, lung cancer is usually not found until a person develops symptoms. At that time, the cancer is much harder to treat and sometimes too late.

Call 816-943-4556 and speak with our Lung Health Coordinator if you have any questions or if you think you qualify for our Lung Cancer Screening Program.

Who should get a lung cancer screening?

LDCT lung screening is recommended for people who are at high risk for lung cancer. Screening before symptoms appear may lower risk by as much as 20 percent. Those who have symptoms of a lung condition at the time of screening, such as a new cough or shortness of breath, are not eligible. They should see a physician immediately. People ages 55-77 who have smoked at least an average of one pack a day for 30 years. This includes people who still smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Why does it matter if I have symptoms?

Certain symptoms can be a sign that you have a condition in your lungs that should be evaluated and treated, if necessary, by your healthcare provider. These symptoms include fever, chest pain, a new or changing cough, shortness of breath that you have never felt before, coughing up blood or unexplained weight loss. If you have any of these symptoms, see your physician immediately.

If I meet the criteria, but have a previous cancer diagnosis, is lung screening still recommended for me?

It depends. In some cases, LDCT lung screening will not be appropriate, such as when your physician is already following your cancer with CT scan studies. Your physician will help determine if LDCT lung screening is right for you.

Do I need to have a low-dose CT screening every year?

Yes. If you are high risk, a lung screening is recommended every year until 77 years of age.

How effective is low-dose CT from preventing death from lung cancer?

Studies have shown that when compared to single-view chest X-ray screening, LDCT lung screening can lower the risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent in people who are at risk.

How much does the screening cost?

Medicare and most private insurances will cover the low-dose CT as part of a screening for those who meet high-risk criteria. For those with insurance, we will bill your insurance provider. We also offer a self-pay discounted rate through MDSave of $150. mdsave.com/sjmc-lung

What should I do if I think I qualify?

Call our Lung Health Coordinator, Michelle Boucher, at 816-943-4556 to answer a few brief questions and we will work with your health provider to get you scheduled.