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Lung Cancer Screening Exams

At this time, lung cancer screening is recommended only for adults at high risk. That’s because they have a higher chance of getting the disease.

Being at high risk doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get lung cancer. But, you may need to start regular screening exams. So if you do get cancer, your doctor finds it at its earliest stage. When found early, the chances for successfully treating the disease are greatest.

You should get screened for lung cancer if you:  

  • are a current smoker (or former smoker who quit in the past 15 years) and
  • have a 30 pack-year smoking history (For example, one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years).

If you fall into this group, follow the screening schedule below:

Age 55 to 74

  • Low-dose computerized tomography (CT or CAT scan) every year

Check with your insurance provider before scheduling an exam. Not all insurance providers cover the cost of this exam.

Still unsure if lung cancer screening is right for you? Print and share MD Anderson’s lung cancer screening chart with your doctor.

Along with regular exams, practice awareness. This means you should be familiar with your body. That way you’ll notice changes, like a cough that doesn’t go away or chest pain. Then, report them to your doctor without delay.

The screening plan on this page applies to adults expected to live for at least 10 years. They’re not for adults who have a health condition that may make it hard to diagnose or treat lung cancer. Your doctor can help you decide if you should continue screening after age 74.

For Physicians

Use our flowchart to determine cancer screening recommendations for patients. 

Get a Lung Screening Exam

Did you know you can get a lung cancer screening exam along with a personalized prevention plan at MD Anderson? 

Schedule an appointment today by calling 1-877-632-6789.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center