Doctors recommend a lung screening test to find disease early when treatment may work better. Lung cancer screening is a preventative annual screening, like a mammogram or colonoscopy. Because lung cancer typically has no symptoms until the disease has spread, studies have shown, screening patients at high risk can detect lung cancer early when it is most treatable.
The recommended screening test for lung cancer is low-dose computed tomography (also called a low-dose CT scan, or LDCT). During an LDCT scan, you lie on a table and an X-ray machine uses a low dose (amount) of radiation to make detailed images of your lungs. The scan only takes a few minutes and is not painful.
Current guidelines recommend a lung cancer screening if you meet the criteria in one of the following categories:
Take the test below to see if you meet the guidelines for a lung cancer screening:
Have one of the following additional lung cancer risk factors. Check any that apply.
Exposure to radon, a radioactive gas that can exist in houses
Exposure to asbestos, especially if exposure occurred in the workplace
History of head and/or neck cancer
Exposure to cancer-causing agents in the environment, especially occupational exposure such as arsenic, chromium, nickel, cadmium, beryllium or silica
Lung scarring from certain types of pneumonia or a diagnosis of COPD
A first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, who has had lung cancer
If you checked all boxes in either category, the federal guidelines recommend you have a low-dose CT screening test.
*Please note, BJC HealthCare follows current lung screening guidelines set by Medicare. Any recommendations to change lung cancer screening guidelines such as those proposed by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, must first be adopted by Medicare before the BJC HealthCare screening recommendations can change.
In March 2021, the United States Preventive Services Task Force updated their lung cancer screening guidelines. The new guidelines reduce the lower limit of the screening age from 55 to 50 years and the minimum smoking history from 30 to 20 pack-years. By expanding the screening criteria, the changes made in the 2021 guidelines, expected to be adopted by Medicare in 2022, are key to including more high-risk women and racial minorities in screening.
Find a Screening Location
BJC HealthCare offers multiple lung cancer screening locations throughout the St. Louis area, including eastern Missouri and southern Illinois.