What Do I Need to Know about Lung Cancer Screening? | American Lung Association

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What Do I Need to Know about Lung Cancer Screening?

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Key Points

  • Lung cancer screening can help find lung cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat.
  • At this time, studies have shown that a low-dose CT scan is the only lung cancer screening tool that reduces the risk of dying from lung cancer.
  • Lung cancer screening is not right for everyone.

One reason why lung cancer is so serious is that, by the time you have symptoms, it has likely already spread and has become more difficult to treat. Screening is looking for cancer before you have any symptoms, which can help find cancer at an early stage when it may be easier to treat.

Early detection of lung cancer can save lives for those at high risk and in turn, reduce the lung cancer burden in the United States. Lung cancer screening for those at high risk needs to be part of preventive care strategy to catch more lung cancers early and significantly improve the low survival rates.

To help determine whether or not a screening test is recommended, scientists study screening tests to find those with the fewest risks and most benefits. They look at results over time to see if finding cancer early decreases one's chances of dying from the disease. Data show that screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) reduces the risk of dying from lung cancer in the high-risk population studied. Other screening tests such as chest X-rays and sputum cytology have not been found to be effective, and are not recommended for screening.

Resources for You

You may have many questions when considering screening for lung cancer. These resources can help you understand lung cancer screening.

Help spread the word about the importance of lung cancer screening. Visit SavedByTheScan.org to share your screening story and learn how you can get involved.

Should You Get Screened for Lung Cancer?

Talk with a Loved One about Screening

Why Lung Cancer Screening Isn't for Never Smokers

  • Read this Each Breath blog post to better understand how screening tests are developed and the science behind the high-risk criteria.

Tools for Scheduling a Screening

Lung Cancer Screening Insurance Coverage

For Health Professionals

Lung Association Position Statements

    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed December 18, 2017.

    Page Last Updated: July 11, 2019

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