High-Risk Lung Cancer Screening

High-Risk Lung Cancer Screening - Virtua Service

Don’t Do it for You—Do it for Them

Some smokers view a lung cancer diagnosis as inevitable, or as a punishment for their decision to smoke. As a result, they avoid discussing their smoking habits and lung cancer screening options with their doctor. 

Regardless of your current smoking status, lung cancer screening could save your life. 

Lung cancer symptoms don’t usually appear until the later stages of the disease when it’s more difficult to cure. Lung cancer screening can detect disease during earlier stages when treatment may be more effective.

How is lung cancer screening performed?

Lung cancer screening is a noninvasive, painless imaging test that’s performed using low-dose radiation computed tomography (LDCT) technology, also called a low-dose CT. During the test, an imaging machine creates detailed pictures of your lungs. Your doctor checks these images looking for suspicious areas. 

A low-dose CT scan is shown to improve lung cancer survival rates based on data from the National Lung Screening Trial. 

Who should consider screening?

Those who qualify for lung cancer screening fit into one of two categories:

Category 1

  • Age 55 to 74
  • Current or former smoker (must have quit within the last 15 years)
  • 30 pack-year history*

Category 2

  • Age 50 or older
  • 20 pack-year history*
  • One additional risk factor: occupational exposure, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema or chronic bronchitis, immediate family member with history of lung cancer or patient history of cancer 

Your physician will help you determine your risk factors.

*A pack year is the number of packs smoked daily multiplied by the number of years smoking. Example: 1 pack a day x 30 years = 30 pack-years 

Does insurance cover lung cancer screening?

Most health insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover lung cancer screening for people who meet the eligibility criteria.

Virtua offers reduced rates for those without coverage. The test requires an order from a physician that may be provided by your family physician, internist or lung specialist.

Learn more about lung cancer screening

If you have questions about the program, call (856) 247-7370 and press #2. A lung nurse navigator will answer questions, assist you with referrals and help you throughout the process.

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