What is screening?

Screening means that a test is done to look for a disease, in someone at risk of developing the disease, before the disease has advanced enough to cause symptoms. The goal of screening is to reduce the number of people who die from the disease by detecting the disease early in its course, when it is easier to treat, with minimal harm to those who are screened.

Eligibility for lung cancer screening

To be a candidate for lung screening, an individual must be:

  • 55 to 77 years old.
  • A smoker or a person who quit smoking less than 15 years ago.
  • Have a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years. (A pack year is a way of determining how many cigarettes a person has smoked during his or her lifetime. One pack year is equal to smoking 20 cigarettes, or one pack, every day for one year.)
  • Have no new symptoms that could be related to lung cancer;
  • Be healthy enough to tolerate curative intent treatment for early stage lung cancer; and,
  • Have not had a chest CT in the last 12 months

Lung cancer screening

Lung cancer screening refers to testing a healthy individual at high risk for developing lung cancer who has no symptoms of lung cancer in hopes of finding lung cancer at a stage that it can be cured. Low-dose chest CT based screening has been found to reduce the number of people who die from lung cancer with acceptable risks when performed in a high quality setting. At Cleveland Clinic, we have a comprehensive lung cancer screening program for those individuals at high risk of developing lung cancer (aged 55 to 77, 30+ pack-years of smoking, smoked within the past 15 years).