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Lung Screening Program

Mass General Imaging screens high-risk patients for lung cancer at multiple locations using low-dose CT.

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.

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.

Jo-Anne Shepard, MD
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.

Patient Resources

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.

Quitting Smoking

Quitting Smoking

Get resources from Mass General on how to quit smoking.

Lung Screening FAQ
Lung Screening FAQ

Lung Screening FAQ

Learn more about lung cancer screening including the risks and benefits.

Lung Cancer: Should I Have Screening?

Lung Cancer: Should I Have Screening?

This shared decision making tool can help you talk to your doctor about your choices.

Bob's Story

Refer a Patient to Mass General Imaging

Are you a provider who wants to refer a patient to Mass General Imaging? Call our Central Scheduling Office between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Or order online.