Common Questions About Lung Cancer

Q. Who should get screened?​

A. Currently, screening is recommended for individuals at high risk for lung cancer. High risk is defined as:​

Between 50 and 80 years old​
Currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years​
Having a 20 pack-year history (1 pack a day for 20 years)​
If you don’t meet the above criteria, but are having symptoms of lung cancer, you should consult with your healthcare professional about being tested.​

Q. How is lung cancer screening done? ​

A. Lung cancer screening is done with a low-dose CT scan. A low dose CT (computed tomography) scan is an x-ray that scans the lungs and uses low doses of radiation to make detailed pictures of the lungs.​

Q. Where do I go to get screened?​

A. Start by talking to your healthcare provider. He/she can order the scan for you and recommend a local facility.​

Q. Is screening dangerous? What are the risks?​

A. All radiation involves some risk. You should discuss the risks with your healthcare professional.​ However, a new study published March 10, 2020 in the journal Radiology, reports, “Low-dose chest CT scans don’t appear to damage human DNA.”

Q. Will my insurance cover screening?​

A. Medicare will cover the costs of screening for those ages 55-77 who fit the eligibility criteria. The transition to providing coverage for people 50-55 is under way. Please consult with your insurance provider to find out if screening is covered as part of your plan.​

Q. How often should I get screened?​

A. Lung cancer screening is recommended annually for those at high risk.​

​Q. What causes lung cancer?​

A. The primary cause of lung cancer is smoking, but you don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer. Lung cancer can be caused by environmental factors like radon, pollution, secondhand smoke and industrial chemicals.​

Q. What are the symptoms of lung cancer?​

A. Typical symptoms of lung cancer include persistent cough, coughing up blood or phlegm, chest pain, hoarseness, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, shortness of breath, wheezing, ongoing bronchitis or pneumonia​.

Q. Where can I learn more about lung cancer?​

A. A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation is proud to present, the first-of-its-kind Animated Patient’s Guide to Lung Cancer.