Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Yet, if detected early, lung cancer has cure rates as high as 80-90%. A lung screening could save your life.

Our Capabilities

Our Lung Cancer Screening Program was the first screening program in Greater Cincinnati and is recognized by the Lung Cancer Alliance as a Lung Cancer Screening Center of Excellence. Our team is composed of experts in every area of lung cancer and is the only team of its kind in the region. By combining extensive, specialized lung cancer treatment expertise with the power of scientific discovery, we offer the most advanced care options available.


Understanding Lung Cancer Screenings

What is lung cancer screening?

Lung cancer screening is the process that is used to detect the presence of lung cancer in otherwise healthy individuals with a high risk of lung cancer. Just because your doctor recommends that you get screened, doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer.

How does a lung cancer screening work?

Individuals meeting the eligibility criteria will receive a low-dose CT screening that is read and interpreted by one of our dedicated chest radiologists to ensure the most accurate results.

Nurse coordinators help patients navigate the screening process and discuss results with each patient.

Screening results are discussed by our multidisciplinary lung cancer team – the only team of its kind in the region – each week to develop a personalized plan for each patient.

What are the benefits of a lung cancer screening?

A lung screening could save your life.

Smokers are up to 30 times more likely than nonsmokers to develop lung cancer – the deadliest of cancers – but more than 90% of patients can be cured of lung cancer if they are diagnosed early.

What are the screening methods for lung cancer?

Lung cancer screening is done with a low radiation-dose CT scan. The scan takes a few minutes to complete and there are no IVs or contrast given.

Who should get a lung cancer screening?

If you are 50 to 80 years old and are a heavy smoker, such as smoking a pack a day, or a past smoker who quit within the last 15 years, a low-dose CT scan every year is recommended.

What are they looking for during a lung cancer screening?

Dedicated chest radiologists are looking for spots in the lung or other findings such as enlarged lymph nodes. It’s important to note that most spots seen during lung cancer screening are not cancer.

How is early-stage lung cancer detected?

Early-stage lung cancer does not typically cause symptoms, so the best way to detect lung cancer early is with screening.

Does screening help people live longer?

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., yet if detected early, lung cancer has cure rates as high as 80-90%. Early detection with screening, smoking cessation and personalized treatment while lung cancer is localized, are essential to improving survival.

Who is at risk for lung cancer?

Anyone can get lung cancer. But there are some factors that can increase your risk for lung cancer. These include:

  • Tobacco smoke. Smoking is by far the biggest risk factor for lung cancer. About eight in 10 lung cancer deaths are linked to smoking. The longer you smoke and the more you smoke each day, the greater your risk. Cigar and pipe smoking are almost as likely to cause lung cancer as cigarette smoking.
  • Secondhand smoke. Breathing in other people's smoke also increases your risk for lung cancer.
  • Radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It naturally comes from rocks and soil. It can enter the air and be breathed into the lungs. Outdoor levels of radon are not usually a concern. But radon can collect in the lower parts of buildings, such as the basements of homes. Radon levels vary across the country and even within neighborhoods. People who live a long time in a home with high radon levels have a higher risk for lung cancer. If you are concerned about radon, you can have your home tested.
  • Asbestos. Asbestos is a type of mineral fiber found in rocks and soil in many parts of the world. It has been used for many years in insulation and other products. Breathing in asbestos fibers can raise your risk for lung cancer. This is especially a concern for people who work around asbestos for many years.
  • Exposure to other chemicals. Certain other chemicals have been linked to lung cancer. These are found mostly in the workplace. The chemicals include arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, silica, vinyl chloride, nickel compounds, chromium compounds, coal products, mustard gas, diesel exhaust and chloromethyl ethers.
  • Air pollution. Air pollution seems to slightly raise the risk for lung cancer. This is especially true if you live near roads that have lots of traffic.
  • Radiation therapy to the chest. People who have had radiation to the chest in the past have a higher risk for lung cancer. Radiation therapy might have been used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma or breast cancer, for example.
  • Personal history of lung cancer. People who have had lung cancer are at risk of getting another lung cancer.
  • Family history of lung cancer. People with a family history of lung cancer have an increased risk for lung cancer. This is especially true if a parent, brother or sister had it. Some of this risk might be from shared household risk factors, such as tobacco smoke or radon exposure. Some of the risk might also be from shared genes in the family. For instance, some gene changes that run in families have been found to be linked to a greater risk for lung cancer. This can even affect people who have never smoked.

How can you manage the risk of lung cancer?

  • Don’t smoke!
  • Stay away from secondhand smoke. 
  • Have your home tested for radon.
  • Avoid or limit your exposure to chemicals that can cause lung cancer, such as diesel exhaust and asbestos.
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.

Do you smoke and want to quit?

Join our “Win by Quitting” program. 

Sponsored by the UC Cancer Center at UC Medical Center and the Division of Hematology Oncology, this program is designed to help cigarette smokers kick the habit. It is a six-step program, supervised by a physician, which makes the process of quitting smoking easier on the smoker. The sessions use both behavior modification techniques and prescription medications. During the sessions, you will receive support and encouragement. This program helps you quit over a 12-week period.

If you have tried to quit smoking, you know how hard it can be. That is because nicotine is a very addictive drug. Within seconds of taking a puff of smoke, nicotine travels to the brain. It tells the brain to release chemicals that make you want to smoke more.

Quitting is difficult. Usually, people try to quit two or three times or more before finally being able to quit. Studies show that each time you try to quit, you will be stronger and will learn more about what helps and what hurts in the process. Half of all people who have ever smoked have quit. You can do it, too!

Anyone can quit smoking. The decision to quit and your success depend on how much you want to stop smoking.

Some questions for you . . .

  • Why do you smoke?
  • Why do you want to quit?
  • How will you feel when you stop smoking?

Three reasons to quit smoking:

  • Your children.
  • Your family.
  • You!

To join the “Win by Quitting” program, call (513) 584-QUIT (7848).

How much does a lung cancer screening cost?

Lung cancer screening is now covered by most insurance programs, including Medicare, for eligible patients. If your insurance does not cover this screening, we offer a discounted self-pay rate.

How do I schedule an appointment?

To schedule an appointment, call 513-584-LUNG (5864) and select option 1.

Contact Us

At UC Health, we lead the region in scientific discoveries and embrace a spirit of purpose – offering our patients and their families something beyond everyday healthcare. At UC Health, we offer hope.