Lung Cancer Screening

Early detection of lung cancer is key to treatment and survival rate. Natalie Warren Bryant Cancer Center and Saint Francis Health System offer Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening, if you're at high risk for developing lung cancer. Our specialists use the CT scan to better detect lung cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages. According to the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), a low dose CT scan may reduce lung cancer-specific mortality by 20%.        

Know Your Lung Cancer Risks

A lung cancer screening is recommended if your smoking history puts you in either of the following categories:

Age 55-77
  • Asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
  • Tobacco history of at least 30 pack years (i.e. 1 pack per day x 30 years, 2 packs per day x 15 years or the equivalent)
  • Current smoker or you've quit within the last 15 years
  • You have a written order for LDCT lung cancer screening
Age 50-54
  • You have a 20 pack-year history of smoking (i.e. 1 pack per day x 20 years, 2 packs per day x 10 years or the equivalent) AND one or more of the following:
    • Previous history of lung cancer and/or radiation therapy more than 5 years ago
    • First-degree relative with history of lung cancer
    • Documented COPD (FEV1 <70%)
    • Radon or other environmental exposure such as asbestos
    • Pulmonary Fibrosis

Your LDCT Screening

LDCT lung screening is one of the easiest screening exams you can have. The exam takes less than 60 seconds. No medicines are given, and no needles are used. You can eat before and after the exam. You do not even need to change your clothes, as long as the clothing on your chest does not have metal in it. However, you must be able to hold your breath for at least 10 seconds while the chest scan takes place.
There are some risks and limits in performing LDCT lung screening. We want to make sure that we have done a good job explaining these to you, so please let us know if you have any questions.

  • Radiation exposure: LDCT lung screening uses radiation to create pictures of your lungs. Radiation can increase a person's risk of cancer. The amount of radiation in LDCT lung screening is small - about the same amount a person would receive from a screening mammogram.

  • False negatives: No test is perfect. This includes the LDCT lung screening. You may have lung cancer or other medical conditions not found during your screening. This is a false negative.

  • False positives/additional testing: Your LDCT lung screening may find something in the lungs that it detects as possible cancer, when in fact it is not. This is a false positive. False positive tests can often cause anxiety. In order to make sure these findings are not cancer, you may need to have more tests done, but only with your approval. Sometimes patients need a procedure, such as a biopsy, that can cause possible problems.

  • Findings not related to lung cancer: Your LDCT lung screening exam also takes pictures of parts of your body next to or near your lungs. In a small number of cases (5-10%), the CT scan will show an abnormal finding in the area of your kidneys, adrenal glands, liver, thyroid, or other parts of your body. These findings may not be serious. However, you may need further examination. See your doctor to decide if you need more testing.

Your Test Results

A radiologist reads all screening LDCT scans before reporting the results. You and your doctor will usually receive your results within 5-7 days.

Ongoing Screening

The lung cancer screening program decreases the death rate for lung cancer by 20%. However, it is only helpful if you continue to have the LDCT scan done yearly. It is a commitment to your health.

Smoking Cessation

Smoking is the biggest risk factor for getting lung cancer. If you are ready to quit smoking and decrease that risk, we have tools available to help you. If you have already quit smoking, keep up the good work!

Lung Cancer Screening Payment

Medicare now covers CT lung cancer screening for those who meet specific eligibility criteria; otherwise coverage varies by insurance plan and payer. If your screening is not covered by insurance, the $99 discounted fee will apply.

Schedule Your Lung Cancer Screening at Saint Francis

For more information or to determine eligibility, please call our Lung Cancer Screening Program Coordinator at 918-494-6467.

And, talk to your doctor today. Ask your doctor if lung cancer screening is right for you. If you and your doctor think annual screening is right for you, your doctor's office will help refer you for a lung cancer screening. If you don't have a primary care physician, please call Saint Francis Healthlink at 918-488-6688, Monday - Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Our intake specialists will help you schedule an appointment to talk to a doctor about lung cancer screening.

Saint Francis Health System is a Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) Screening Center of Excellence.


Helpful Resources


Ready to quit smoking? Your tobacco-free life begins with Clear Direction.

American Association for Thoracic Surgery

American Cancer Society

American Lung Association

National Cancer Institute