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Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening at Memorial Hermann

About Lung Cancer Screening 

Low-Dose CT (LDCT) is an effective tool in screening for lung cancer and is done before a person has any symptoms. The goal of conducting an LDCT lung screening is to save lives. Without this screening test, lung cancer is usually not found until a person develops symptoms. At that time, the cancer is much harder to treat.

Health outcomes, benefits and risks are important for your physician to consider when recommending an LDCT lung screening. Not all people who smoke may fit the criteria necessary for screening and/or reimbursement related to the LDCT scan.

Your healthcare provider can help you determine whether you fit the criteria appropriate for receiving an LDCT lung screening.

Who should get an LDCT lung screening exam?

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an LDCT lung screening is recommended for people who are at high risk of lung cancer. High-risk patients fit the following criteria:

  • Age 55-77 and
  • Currently, or in the past, have smoked at least one pack a day for 30 years and
  • A current smoker or one who has quit within the last 15 years and
  • Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer

Why does it matter if I have symptoms?

Certain symptoms can be a sign that you have a condition in your lungs that should be evaluated and treated, if necessary, by your healthcare provider. These symptoms include fever, chest pain, a new or changing cough, shortness of breath that you have never felt before, coughing up blood, or unexplained weight loss.

Do I need to have an LDCT lung screening exam every year?

Your provider will discuss how frequently you need screening based on your individual risk.

How effective is LDCT lung screening at preventing death from lung cancer?

Studies have shown that LDCT lung screening may lower the risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent in people at high risk.

How is the exam performed?

It takes less than 10 minutes, no medications are given, and no needles are used. You can eat before and after the exam. You will not need to change clothes as long as the clothing on your chest does not contain metal. You must, however, be able to hold your breath for at least six seconds while the chest scan is being taken.

Are there any risks to LDCT lung screening?

We want to make sure you understand the risks and benefits of LDCT lung screening, which is why a decision-sharing visit with your physician is necessary before your screening takes place. During this meeting, your physician will discuss all of this with you.

I think I qualify for LDCT lung screening. What should I do next?

You will need an order for the lung screening from your healthcare provider before your exam. Once you have an order, call one of the locations below or click here to schedule an appointment online.

  • Greater Heights: 713-867-3336
  • Southeast: 281-929-6485
  • All Other Locations: 877-704-8700

When will I get the results? Will my doctor also receive the results?

You will receive the results of your exam within two weeks. If you do not, please follow up with your referring physician. The healthcare provider who ordered your exam will receive a copy of your results.

How much does the screening cost?

Most insurance plans will cover the screening if you fit one of the high-risk categories. For patients whose insurance does not cover the screening, we offer it at an all-inclusive, cash price of $150. Any additional testing you may need, based on the results from the screening, will be billed to your insurance.

Where can I find help to quit smoking?

The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking. For help on quitting smoking, please call the American Cancer Society at 1.800.227.2345 or call 713.222.CARE to enroll in the next Memorial Hermann-sponsored tobacco cessation program. More information on our Tobacco Cessation Counseling program can be found by clicking here

What is the role of a Lung Nurse Navigator?

Undergoing various treatments and dealing with healthcare professionals from different specialties like radiologists, surgeons and oncologists can be a lot to handle. The Lung Cancer Screening Program features a dedicated Lung Nurse Navigator, who is available to coordinate tests and procedures in an expedient manner while addressing any social, spiritual, emotional and healthcare needs.

About our Lung Nodule Program

Lung screening is part of the Lung Nodule Program at Memorial Hermann. The program’s multidisciplinary approach is used to expedite the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of lung nodules and lesions. The affiliated team collaboratively reviews each case and recommends the best treatment option for each patient. The team is made up of affiliated:

  • Diagnostic, vascular and interventional radiologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Pathologists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Thoracic surgeons