Lung Cancer Screening CT Program
The Lung Cancer Screening CT Program at National Jewish Health is focused on early detection. CT screening has been proven to significantly decrease lung cancer deaths by as much as 20 percent in high-risk patients. If you have a significant smoking history you are at an increased risk for developing lung cancer.
Our program started in 2010 and is based on the results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). Two of our lung cancer experts were part of the NLST investigators. The NLST results showed a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths in high-risk individuals screened with CT scan.
Lung cancer screening CT is recommended by the following groups:
- American College of Chest Physicians
- American Society of Clinical Oncology
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network
- American Thoracic Society
- American Lung Association
- American Association of Thoracic Surgeons
Our Lung Cancer Screening CT Program includes:
- Reduced radiation dose chest CT
- Lung nodule detection
- Nodule management utilizing established guidelines
- Lung Nodule Registry
- Lung cancer diagnosis
Download the lung cancer screening brochure (pdf).
Who Can Benefit from a Lung Cancer Screening CT Scan?
Candidates for this screening include:
- Ages 50 to 75
- Current smoker, previous smoker with significant smoking history (20- to 30-pack years for example)
Have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Exposure to radon, silica, cadmium, asbestos, arsenic, beryllium, chromium, diesel fumes or nickel
- Personal history of cancer, COPD, or pulmonary fibrosis
- Family history of lung cancer
Reduced Radiation Dose Chest CT Scan
The CT scan of the chest at National Jewish Health provides the clearest image of the lung tissue with the least possible amount of radiation exposure. The lung cancer screening CT scan can detect lung nodules. The radiologist evaluates the features of the lung nodule including size, borders and growth over time. Lung cancer can be identified at an early stage when treatment is more effective. Learn more about our Radiation Reduction Program.
During the Test
This is a simple test. You lay flat on the CT table and the machine scans over your chest during one short breath hold.
You will be exposed to a small amount of radiation from the CT scanner.
The lung cancer screening CT scan is a low-dose scan usually in the range of 1-2 mSv. This is a very small risk to take in order to save your life from a more serious health threat – lung cancer.
Lung Nodule Detection
A lung nodule is a small rounded area that looks like a white spot on the CT scan. Nodules are common and about 97 percent will not be cancerous. A nodule can, however, represent early lung cancer, so it needs to be well evaluated and monitored appropriately.
Suspicious looking lung nodules may require further testing such as a PET/CT, CT-guided needle biopsy or examination by navigational bronchoscopy.
Lung Nodule Management
Lung nodules need to be identified and then watched. We follow the Fleischner Society Guidelines with regard to lung nodule management. These guidelines are based on highly reviewed and accepted research. They are specific about when lung nodules need to be rescanned based on size and other criteria. The goal of the guidelines is to image appropriately and safely and to detect lung cancer at the earliest possible stage.
Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Lung nodules with features suspicious for cancer usually need further evaluation. Other testing may include:
- PET scan
- CT-guided lung biopsy
- Navigational bronchoscopy
Team of Dedicated Imaging Experts
National Jewish Health has a 114 year history as the leading respiratory care hospital in the nation and is the only hospital devoted fully to the treatment of respiratory and related illnesses. U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked National Jewish Health as the number one or number two hospital in pulmonology ever since pulmonology was included in its rankings. We know lungs and we know lung cancer. Our Lung Cancer Center is comprehensive, compassionate and personalized. Our team of providers are known and respected nationally for their lung cancer expertise. Learn more about our Lung Cancer Center.
Our radiologists are all medical doctors trained in radiology with extra training in chest (thoracic) radiology. Many of our thoracic radiologists are nationally recognized experts on lung cancer and lung cancer screening CT.
Lung Cancer Screening CT Program FAQ
Schedule a Lung Cancer Screening CT
Please call us at our Lung Line®, 1.800.222.LUNG (800.222.5864) for more information and to schedule your screening.