Lung Cancer Screening

Of the estimated 7 million people

in the US eligible for annual

lung cancer screening, only about 

3% actually receive it. 

Research presented at the American Society
of Clinical Oncology showed that

12,000 lives

could be saved each year if all eligible
people were screened, compared to the
250 lives actually saved.

In addition, a National Cancer Institute study
found that lung cancer mortality 

decreased by 20% 

in high-risk patients who received low-dose CT scans
annually, compared to those receiving chest X-rays.

What test is used? 

Low-dose computed tomography (also called a low-dose CT or LDCT).

Who should be screened? 

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual LDCT for people who:

  • Have a history of heavy smoking (a history of 20 pack years or more). 


  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years.


  • Are 50 to 77 years old.

Screening is recommended only for adults who have no symptoms but are at high risk.

What is a Pack Year?

Smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. For example, 20 pack years can mean smoking one pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for 10 years.

When should screening stop? 

When the person being screened:

  • Turns 79 years old


  • Has not smoked in 15 years or more.