Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the United States, more than breast, colon, prostate, and pancreatic cancer combined. Smoking is the single biggest cause of lung cancer. When people are diagnosed at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate is 70% -- much better than when people are diagnosed later. Unfortunately, most people don’t have symptoms of lung cancer until it is advanced, and very difficult to treat.

The recommendation

Legacy Cancer Institute agrees with the recommendation of the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute and U.S. Preventive Task Force. The recommendation is based on a large study that found that screening can reduce deaths from lung cancer among current and former heavy smokers by 20 percent.

  • Current or former heavy smokers between ages 55 and 80 should get screened for lung cancer, with a low-dose CT scan
  • Screening should take place at a facility that offers a full range of follow-up testing options and a multi-disciplinary lung cancer program


Legacy's program

We use the most advanced CT scanner, which shows even the smallest details. The lung CT scans are read by radiologists who specialize in reading chest images, and who are fellowship-trained in thoracic (chest cavity) radiology.

Before the scan, you will meet with a registered nurse, nurse practitioner or doctor, to make sure you will benefit from the screening, and that you understand how the screening works. There are often “false positives” – this means the first CT scan shows something, but more tests are needed to determine if it is cancer. Many of these are not cancer yet, but should be checked regularly. If the radiologist does see something, you will be told within 3 working days.

Legacy Cancer Institute is a nationally ranked, comprehensive cancer program. We are designated as a Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance. We offer special expertise in diagnosing and treating lung cancer. Learn more about our lung cancer program.  


The CT scan costs $99. Most insurance plans do not pay for this. If you cannot afford this, let us know. You may be eligible for financial help. If your first CT scan shows something, and more tests are needed, these will be covered by insurance. (Depending on your plan, you may be required to pay a co-pay or co-insurance.) It is only the first screening CT that insurance will not cover at all.

For an appointment

If you are a current or former heavy smoker between the ages of 55 and 80 and are interested in the screening program, call Legacy Cancer Institute at 503-413-8050.