Patients who meet the following criteria are eligible for an annual low-dose CT scan (LDCT) to screen for lung cancer:
- Asymptomatic individuals between the ages of 55 and 80
- Have a history of at least 30 "pack years" of smoking (a "pack year" is a year in which someone smokes an average of one pack of cigarettes per day)
- Are either current smokers or have quit in the past 15 years
These criteria are recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force based on the findings of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), a large scientific study in which LDCT resulted in 20% fewer lung cancer deaths compared to screening with a standard chest X-ray.
Currently, most insurance providers do not cover LDCT to screen for lung cancer. As always, you should contact your insurance provider to understand your particular coverage.
Learn about eligibility for lung cancer screening at Mass General.
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