Why is Lung Screening Important?Lung screening has the potential to detect lung cancer at earlier stages when it has the best chance of being cured.
At Mass General Imaging, we use low-dose CT scans (LDCT) to screen for lung cancer among high-risk people who meet the criteria. A LDCT is a type of CT exam that uses a low dose of radiation to take detailed images of the lungs. It does not use IV or oral contrast.
Lung screening is free for eligible patients because it is covered by Medicare and most private insurance.
Jo-Anne Shepard, MD
For patients at high risk of lung cancer, screening with LDCT has the potential to find even the smallest cancers at an early stage when they are most treatable.
Chief, Division of Thoracic Imaging and Intervention
How to Prepare for a Lung Screening
Most low-dose CT exams last 15 minutes but the actual scanning takes about two minutes.
- When to Arrive - Please arrive 30 minutes before your appointment so we can properly prepare for your imaging.
- Eating & Drinking - You can eat and drink as you normally would before your appointment.
- Clothing - Please wear loose, comfortable clothes with no metal like zippers or underwire in bras. Metal can blur the images. We may ask you to change into hospital attire for clearer images.
- Valuables - You can keep your things with you during a CT exam, but we suggest you leave your valuables at home so you don’t have to worry about them.
- Children - Children are not allowed in the exam room. If you need to bring kids, please bring someone to watch them in the waiting room.
What to Expect at a Lung Screening Exam
Find out what happens when you come to Mass General Imaging for your lung screening exam. During COVID, we are taking unprecedented steps to keep our patients safe. We have adjusted our operations and physical space so you may notice some enhanced safety measures when you visit.
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to be tobacco-free and get screened every year with a low-dose CT. Use these patient resources to get help quitting and to prepare for your low-dose CT at Mass General. You can contact us if you have any questions.
How Screening Led to Early Direction
As a former smoker, Bob McDonald knew that he might be at risk for lung cancer. But even after he was screened, he was still surprised by the results. Find out how early detection changed his life.