Low-Dose CT Lung Screening

Saint Vincent Hospital offers Low-Dose CT Lung Screenings (LDCT) for patients who may be at risk for lung cancer.

What is Low-Dose CT Lung Screening?

The CT Lung Screening is an exam with the ability to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages when it is most treatable. It consists of low-dose, non-contrasted CT. No needles and no special drinks are used for the scan.  There are also no restrictions on eating, drinking, or activities before or after the scan. You can take your usual medications. The scan uses x-rays to scan the entire chest in about 5-10 seconds during a single breath hold. The total exam takes only 10-15 minutes to complete. The LDCT uses significantly less radiation than a conventional CT scan.

Why have LDCT lung screening?

The goal of LDCT lung screening is to save lives. Studies have shown that LDCT lung screening can lower the risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent in people who are high risk. Without LDCT lung screening lung cancer is usually not found until a person develops symptoms. At that time the cancer is much harder to treat. LDCT is effective for diagnosing lung cancer at its earliest more curable stage. 

Does insurance cover CT Lung Screening?

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has approved LDCT scans for those who meet the high risk criteria. Many insurance plans now cover screening for those meeting the criteria. You should speak to your primary care provider about obtaining authorization from your insurance company. If your insurance does not provide authorization, you can choose to pay on your own. Our Financial Counseling department can assist you if you are uninsured or underinsured, or if you need assistance understanding your insurance coverage. A representative can be reached at (508) 363-6130. 

How do I schedule an appointment for a low-dose CT Lung Screening?

Your Primary Care Provider must schedule an appointment for the LDCT scan with a written order. Your primary care provider will also receive the results and will schedule a follow-up with you. As part of the hospital’s screening program, participants will be given FREE information about quitting smoking. In addition, the screening program will track participants and follow-up when necessary. If you think that you meet the criteria, please call your primary care provider to make an appointment for a lung cancer counseling appointment and to obtain an order for an LDCT lung screening. You do not have to be a current patient of Saint Vincent Hospital to receive this screening. However, you must have an order form from your primary care provider before we are able to schedule your appointment. 

Who Should Get a Lung CT Screening?

This exam is for patients at high risk for lung cancer.

You are considered high risk if you are:

  • Between 55-80 years of age
  • A current smoker or a former smoker who quit within the last 15 years who have smoked for 30 or more pack years.

    (Pack years equal the number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years you smoked)

  • Some examples of 30 pack years:
    • You smoked 1 pack a day for 30 years
    • You smoked 2 packs a day for at 15 years
  • You smoked 1 and a half packs a day for 20 years 

Calculate Pack-Years

(20 cigarettes = 1 pack)

Number of years smoked :

Average number of packs smoked per day

Pack Years :


For more information call (508) 363-7144

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