CT Lung Cancer Screening

Why Choose the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center for Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening?

American College of Radiology Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center

We are a designated American College of Radiology (ACR) Lung Cancer Screening Center. This means that:

  • Your imaging study will be read by imaging specialists who are trained in reading CT exams of the chest.
  • Our screening protocol meets ACR technical specifications for achieving low-radiation doses.
  • Medical physicists check our scanners regularly to ensure they are functioning properly with high image quality.

As an integrated, hospital-based imaging center, we are here for all your other imaging needs. Should there be a significant finding, our imaging center can help with further diagnoses and, in some cases, treatments. We work collaboratively with the Cedars-Sinai medical community to provide the best in patient care.

Cedars-Sinai is consistently ranked as a top hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, including receiving specific recognition in the specialties of Pulmonology & Lung Surgery.

Peter J. Julien, MD, chief of Thoracic Imaging, heads our team of imaging doctors, nurses and technologists who specialize in this exam.

Christopher Lee, MD, is the co-director of the Cedars-Sinai Lung Cancer Screening Program.

Why Is CT Lung Cancer Screening Important?

It is possible that over 80% of lung cancers could be cured if found early. Currently only 15% of lung cancers are caught early. An early diagnosis helps your doctors get rid of cancer when it is most treatable.

What Is CT Lung Cancer Screening?

CT lung cancer screening is a painless scan that looks for cancer in the lungs. It is the only recommended screening test for people at high risk of lung cancer.

During the scan, a CT machine uses low-dose (low-radiation) X-rays to create pictures of your lungs. The scan is very detailed and accurate.

A doctor who is trained in looking at lung CT exams reads the scan and writes a report about what they see. That report is sent to your doctor.

Who Should Have CT Lung Cancer Screening?

Medicare covers annual CT lung cancer screening if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are between the ages of 50 and 77.
  • You are a current smoker or quit within the past 15 years.
  • You have a 20 pack-year smoking history. A pack-year is equal to smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. For example, a person could have a 20 pack-year history by smoking one pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for 10 years.
  • You have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer.
  • You have not had a CT chest exam in the previous 12 months.
  • You do not have other serious health conditions.

Private insurance providers may follow the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations, which recommend people who are at risk for lung cancer have annual screening until age 80.

How Is CT Lung Cancer Screening Performed?

  • You don’t have to do anything to prepare for this study.
  • During the exam, you will lie on your back with your arms above your head.
  • You will need to hold your breath briefly as the pictures are taken.
  • Part of your body may be inside the scanner for a short time, but the scanner is open at the back and front so that you can see out.
  • The technologist is always able to see and hear you during the scan.
  • Your visit to the imaging center will take about one hour.