Lung Cancer Screening

Take advantage of quick, painless lung cancer screening at Essentia Health to find lung cancer early.

Am I Eligible for Lung Cancer Screening?

Ask your doctor about lung cancer screening if you meet all the following criteria:

  • Are age 55 to 77
  • Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer
  • Have a history of smoking at least one pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years
  • Smoke now or quit smoking within the last 15 years

Why Should I Get Screened?

Lung cancer causes more cancer-related deaths in the United States than any other type of cancer. Often, lung cancer symptoms don’t show up until the cancer has spread or is in an advanced stage. Screening helps detect cancer early even if you don’t have signs or symptoms. When lung cancer is caught early, it can be easier to treat.

Medical Insights: Lung Cancer Screenings Video Transcript

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The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Medical Insight

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SPEAKER 1: Welcome to "Medical Insight," a weekly healthcare feature brought to you by the experts at Essentia Health. Here's your host, Maureen Talarico.

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Text, Maureen Talarico --Host.

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MAUREEN TALARICO: Today, on "Medical Insight," we talked with pulmonary and critical care physician Dr. Eric Swanson about lung cancer.

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Text, Eric Swanson, D. O. , Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care

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DR. ERIC SWANSON: Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related death in the United States, for both men and women. there are over 100,000 new cancers diagnosed every year, in both men and women. And it ranks behind breast cancer and prostate cancer, as far as new diagnosis of cancer in the United States. So lung cancer is, like any cancer, it's cells that go awry, developed, initially, in the lung tissue and grows, typically, in the lung tissue first. And then, can spread to the lymph nodes and many other locations.

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Scan of lungs

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MAUREEN TALARICO: Dr. Swanson explains who is at risk for developing lung cancer. DR. ERIC SWANSON: Lung cancer can affect anyone of any age. However, the primary population that's at risk is those individuals between 55 and 77 with a positive smoking history. MAUREEN TALARICO: Having a positive smoking history means you have smoked a pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years or the equivalent. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the higher your risk for lung cancer. DR. ERIC SWANSON: First thing to do is talk with your primary care provider regarding your risk of lung cancer and if you're eligible for screening. After they've determined if you're eligible, then you end up getting a low dose CT scan, at least on a yearly basis. If your lung cancer screening CT is abnormal, typically, what ends up happening is you then get referred to the pulmonary clinic, where we talk about the CT scan, what we see on it, whether or not we should follow this up with short term follow up CT versus doing some sort of a biopsy to diagnose what's actually going on in the lung. MAUREEN TALARICO: For "Medical Insight," I'm Maureen Talarico. SPEAKER 1: To learn more about this topic, call our experts at 786-3107.

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The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Medical Insight, essentiahealth.org

Annual Screening

If you are at high risk for lung cancer, get yearly screenings until age 77 or until you’ve quit smoking for at least 15 years.

Low-Dose CT Screening

When you choose Essentia for your lung cancer screening, you’ll benefit from advanced low-dose computed tomography which uses low-dose radiation to make a series of detailed images of your lungs. Expect a quick, painless procedure. You don’t have to take any medicine, and we don’t use any needles.

Your Lung Cancer Screening Results

Trust our expert radiologists to read your LDCT scan. Sometimes LDCT scans show abnormal areas—called nodules—in your lungs. Most nodules aren’t cancer. If your screening finds a lung nodule, your doctor may recommend more diagnostic tests.

Lung Patient Navigators

Lung patient nurse navigators are available to guide and support you. If you need follow-up testing or treatment, your navigator will collaborate with your care team and coordinate your care. Rely on your Essentia lung patient navigator to:

  • Answer your questions
  • Offer emotional support and encouragement
  • Arrange transportation to appointments, if needed
  • Help you deal with insurance issues
  • Provide follow-up after treatment
  • Help you understand medical terms, test results, and treatment options

Paying for Lung Cancer Screening

Most insurance companies cover screenings as part of preventive care. Check with your health insurance company to see what your plan covers.

Hear From an Essentia Low-Dose CT Screening Patient

Fran was a long-time smoker. After a horrible cough, she turned to Essentia for a low-dose CT scan. Tests showed Fran had Stage 3 small-cell lung cancer in her right lung.

Read her story.

Reduce Your Risk of Lung Cancer

Prevent lung cancer by quitting smoking. Quit with the help of smoking cessation experts at Essentia. Find effective ways to stop smoking, including counseling and nicotine replacement products.

Secondhand Smoke

Exposing nonsmokers in your family to secondhand smoke risks their health. Secondhand smoke causes them to breathe in nicotine and toxic chemicals the same way you do. There is no safe level of exposure.

Secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer, and it’s linked to other kinds of cancer, too. Quitting smoking can make your home safer for your family.

Ask for a Referral

You’ll need a referral from your primary care provider or a specialist for this service.

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