Lung Cancer Screening

Early detection saves lives.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. However, when detected early, lung cancer can be treatable.

As a designated Lung Cancer Screening Center, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center offers Low Dose CT (LDCT) lung cancer screenings for qualified patients.

Studies have shown that LDCT lung screenings can lower the risk of death from lung cancer by 20% for people who are high risk. Without LDCT lung screening, lung cancer is usually not found until a person develops symptoms. At that time, the cancer is much harder to treat.
 

What is Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening?

LDCT lung screening is an easy, noninvasive CT (computed tomography) scan of the lungs. It involves a minimal amount of radiation exposure and is performed in just a few minutes. There are no needles or medication involved.  

About 25% of lung screening exams find something in the lungs that may require additional evaluation. Lung nodules are very small collections of tissue and are very common. About 97% of nodules are not cancerous. Further testing or referral to a specialist may be needed to determine if a nodule is cancer. You should check with your insurance provider to determine coverage for this additional testing.
 

Who is Eligible for Screening?

You may qualify for screening if you:

  • Are between the ages of 50 to 80;
  • Are currently a smoker or have quit within the past 15 years;
  • And have a 20 pack-year smoking history. For example, this is equivalent to:
    • smoking a pack a day for 20 years;
    • smoking 2 packs a day for 10 years;
    • smoking half a pack per day for 40 years.

Your primary care provider will help you verify your eligibility.


Low Dose CT Lung Screening Self-Pay Option for At-Risk Individuals

The U.S. Preventive Task Force recommends LDCT for individuals who are at high risk according to specific guidelines. Currently, insurance only covers screening exams for people who are eligible according to these guidelines, or diagnostic exams for people who have symptoms of lung cancer. However, many people who are asymptomatic do not fit those eligibility requirements may want to be screened due to other risk factors, such as:

  • Smoking and secondhand smoke
  • ‚ÄčExposure to radon, asbestos, and other cancer causing agents such as uranium, arsenic, beryllium, silica, nickel compounds, coal products, and diesel exhaust at work or at home
  • Previous radiation therapy to the lungs
  • ‚ÄčFamily history of lung cancer

In these instances, we offer self-pay low dose CT lung cancer screening. This allows people to get screened for a flat rate of $165.
 

Schedule a Screening

Talk to your primary care provider about your risk factors and the possible benefits and harms of being screened for lung cancer. Like many other medical decisions, the decision to be screened is a personal one.

Screening should be repeated annually for as long as you are eligible.
 

Smoking Cessation

Not smoking is the most effective way to prevent Lung Cancer. Please talk with your provider about smoking cessation and available support programs. Additional resources are available online at lung.org, cancer.gov, and acr.org.

Quit Now NH can be reached at quitnownh.org.