Who Should Think About Lung Cancer Screening

Medical experts agree that lung cancer screening should be offered yearly to adults who are at high risk for lung cancer. Talk to your health care provider about lung cancer screening if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You are 55 to 80 years old. (55-77 years old for Medicare patients)
  • You are a current smoker or if a former smoker, you have quit less than 15 years ago.
  • You have a smoking history of 30 pack-years or more. Examples of calculating pack-years:
    • 1 pack of cigarettes a day X 30 years = 30 pack-years
    • 2 packs of cigarettes a day X 15 years = 30 pack-years
  • You have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer.
  • You have no major health problems or conditions that would limit your ability to have additional tests or cancer treatments like surgery.

If you meet all of the above criteria, the best way to decide if you should be screened for lung cancer is Shared Decision Making. Shared decision making is a thoughtful conversation with your health care provider about the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening and your individual situation, preferences and values. Deciding to be screened for lung cancer means you must also think about having an annual LDCT and the possibility of follow-up testing and treatment of abnormal findings.

The following lung cancer screening decision aids have much more information to help you understand lung cancer screening and get ready for a shared decision making visit with your health care provider: