Lung cancer remains the leading cause of death from cancer in the US, and cigarette smoking is the single biggest risk factor.
MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper is dedicated to providing those who are at risk for developing lung cancer with safe and effective screening.
Screening for lung cancer is based on the results from the National Lung Screening Trial and years of clinical research. The research demonstrates that, in certain people, screening can prevent one in five deaths from lung cancer through early detection and treatment.
What Is Lung Cancer Screening?
Lung cancer screening involves checking for the presence of cancer – even if you are not experiencing symptoms. The procedure involves looking abnormalities in the lung tissue that may be cancerous.
Some people are at greater risk of developing lung cancer, making regular screening important to detect cancer as early as possible. Early detection allows your doctors and care team to develop a treatment plan with more flexible options and significantly increases the survival rate for those who have this condition.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Lung Cancer Screening?
At MD Anderson at Cooper, we recommend screenings for those who fit the criteria established by the US Preventive Services Task Force and other national cancer organizations.
To be a candidate for lung cancer screening, you must:
- Be 50 to 80 years old
- Be a smoker or quit smoking less than 15 years ago
- Have a smoking history of 20 pack years (one pack year is equal to smoking one pack of cigarettes every day for 20 years, or two packs per day for 10 years)
How Is Lung Cancer Screening Performed?
The recommended test for lung cancer screening is a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan. An LDCT scan is painless procedure that involves lying on a table while a special x-ray machine takes detailed, 3D images of your lungs to detect any abnormalities. A standard CT scan uses approximately five times the amount of radiation as an LDCT scan. The screening study only takes 10 seconds to complete!
How Frequently Should I Get Screened?
The US Preventive Task Force as well as other professional medical organizations recommend annual screening for those at a high risk for developing lung cancer.
How to Prepare for a Screening
Lung cancer screening with LDCT does not require any special preparations.
What to Expect
Screening for lung cancer using LDCT takes only a few minutes and involves lying on a table while a special kind of X-ray machine takes detailed 3D images of your lungs. A radiologist will review the scan and share the results with your doctor.
The possible results from lung cancer screening include:
- No abnormalities found.
- Lung nodules are present – your doctor may refer you for additional testing, especially if the nodules found during your screening are large and therefore possibly cancerous. The majority of lung nodules found on LDCT scans are small, however, and require only regular screening to monitor them.
- Suspicion of other condition – your doctor may refer you for additional testing if the results of your screening point to some other possible non-cancerous condition, like emphysema.
Your doctor will recommend further testing if any abnormality is detected during your screening. Depending on the findings from your screening, these procedures may include diagnostic tests like additional CT scans, other imaging tests, and biopsies.
Our Lung Cancer Screening Program
MD Anderson at Cooper’s Lung Cancer Screening Program takes a comprehensive approach to screening and treatment and involves a multidisciplinary team of experts from pulmonary medicine/interventional pulmonology, radiology, thoracic surgery, radiation oncology and thoracic oncology, as well as smoking cessation specialists and nurse practitioners. The team thoroughly reviews each case and develops a unique plan for each patient.
Our goal is to provide patients at risk for developing lung cancer with individualized, evidence-based screening and, when necessary, follow-up care and treatment.
Our program includes:
- Personalized lung cancer risk evaluation and clinical assessment
- Low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) scan
- CT scan review and interpretation by our dedicated and experienced team
- Recommendations from our expert team on managing any abnormalities
- Continuity of care and ongoing monitoring
- Smoking cessation counseling and treatment for active smokers
Lung cancer screening at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper is available at two convenient locations — at our main Health Sciences Campus in Camden or in our suburban center in Voorhees.
Are you uninsured? We can help. We offer free lung cancer screening services for men and women who qualify.
Do you want to schedule your screening?
Contact our Lung Cancer Screening Program Coordinator at 856.735.6235.