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Lung Cancer Screening

Benefits of Lung Cancer Screening with CT

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. — more people die of lung cancer than breast, colon and prostate cancers added together. Early detection of lung cancer is critical because the disease is much more treatable in its earlier stages.

About 90 percent of lung cancers are linked to cigarette smoking. In recent years, studies have shown that longtime smokers and ex-smokers can benefit from lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT), a type of medical imaging that creates detailed pictures of the lungs. With CT, small tumors, which are not visible on conventional chest X-rays, can be seen at an earlier, more curable stage.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force, an independent, volunteer panel of national medical experts, now recommends annual low-dose CT screening for seniors at high-risk for lung cancer. Seniors are considered at high risk if they meet all of the following criteria:

Annual screening CT scans are covered by Medicare for patients who meet all of these criteria up to age 77.

If you have private insurance, and you meet these criteria, your plan is required to cover the cost of screening up to age 80 — with no out-of-pocket costs for you — unless your plan is “grandfathered” under the Affordable Care Act. Check with your insurance company to see whether your plan is grandfathered.

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Lung cancer screening exams are available at all University Radiology offices with the exceptions of Bedminster and Point Pleasant. Patients will first need to speak with their physician’s office about how to obtain a prescription slip for a “Lung Cancer Screening CT.” The patient or the referring physician’s office staff can then call University Radiology at 800.758.5545 to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lung Cancer Screening

Who should be screened for lung cancer using low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans?

If you are concerned about lung cancer because of your history of smoking, you should speak with your doctor about the risks and benefits of screening. Low-dose CT screening has been shown to have the most benefits for patients who meet the following criteria:

Meeting those criteria also ensures that Medicare will cover the cost of the exam.

How is an exam scheduled?

You first need to speak with your physician’s office about how to obtain a prescription slip for a “Lung Cancer Screening CT.” With that in hand, you or your physician’s office can call University Radiology at 800.758.5545 to schedule an appointment.

Where are the exams available?

Low-dose CT screening for lung cancer is available at all University Radiology locations with the exceptions of Bedminster and Point Pleasant. Please see our locations.

How does the patient prepare for the exam?

No special preparation is necessary. Ten painless minutes is all it takes.

Who interprets this study?

Lung cancer screening CTs are studied by a select group of our radiologists who are specialists in chest health.

When will the results be available?

Test results will be sent to your referring physician within a few days of the exam. Included in that report will be specific follow-up recommendations.

Does insurance cover the screening exam?

Medicare covers the cost of the annual exam for patients who meet specific criteria. (Please see above.) If you have private insurance, and you meet these criteria, your plan is required to cover the cost of screening — with no out-of-pocket costs for you — unless your plan is “grandfathered” under the Affordable Care Act. Check with your insurance company to see whether your plan is grandfathered.

We will give you the paperwork you need to file with your insurance company and answer any questions. Any follow-up studies or treatments should be covered by insurance.

800.758.5545