Early Lung Cancer Detection and Diagnosis

Low-Dose CT Lung Scans

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NCH Early Lung Cancer Screenings

Knowledge is power

If you are a smoker or former smoker, your risk of getting lung cancer is much higher than someone who has never smoked. At NCH, you don't have to wait and worry. The Early Lung Cancer Screening at NCH is a quick and painless low-dose CT scan that enables doctors to search for signs of lung cancer at an earlier stage—when it's most treatable. Don't let fear keep you in the dark. Knowledge is power, and this knowledge could save your life. Schedule a screening today by calling 847-617-3700, with an order from your healthcare provider. 

NCH is a preferred screening site of the Lung Cancer Alliance

NCH is committed to diagnosing lung problems at the earliest possible stage. We were one of the first hospitals in the Chicago area to provide Early Lung Cancer Screenings for high-risk smokers using low-dose CT scans. And, because we have a comprehensive lung program and follow national guidelines to further evaluate positive findings, we are also a preferred screening site in the U.S. for the Lung Cancer Alliance. NCH also is an American College of Radiology Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center.


The benchmark study

A November 2010 study from the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) found:

  • 20 percent reduction in lung cancer mortality among current or former heavy smokers when cancer was detected by a low-dose CT scan versus a chest x-ray.
  • Of those cancers detected during the trial, 40 percent were found at an early and treatable stage.

The NLST was performed by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network and the National Cancer Institute.

NCH became one of the first hospitals in the Chicago area to launch an Early Lung Cancer Screening program in early 2011.

How to determine if you are at high risk

Not everyone should be screened for lung cancer. It is important to only screen individuals at increased risk for lung cancer.

The single most important risk factor for lung cancer is cigarette smoking.

Tobacco use accounts for almost 90 percent of all lung cancers. If you have ever smoked, you have an increased chance of developing lung cancer. The longer you smoke and the more packs you have smoked, the greater the risk of developing cancer.

Are you or a loved one eligible for this screening?

You must meet all of the following criteria as a high-risk smoker to be eligible for an Early Lung Cancer Screening at NCH:

  • You are between 55 and 80 years old and have smoked, on average, one pack a day for 30 years or the equivalent, e.g., 2 packs a day for 15 years.
  • You are currently smoking or have quit within the past 15 years.
  • You have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer.

NCH Schedule an Appointment

Schedule a Screening (Order Required)


Is Lung Cancer Screening Right for Me?

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Frequently asked questions about low-dose CT lung scans

What are the risks?

  • Exposure to a small amount of radiation, that is less than a CT chest regular dose and about the same as an X-ray of the spine
  • False positives or incidental findings that may require follow-up testing
  • False negatives, e.g. missing a very small lung cancer

What are the benefits?

  • Find lung cancer at an early stage
  • Re-evaluate the benefits of quitting smoking

Does insurance cover the screening?

The screening is covered by Medicare/Medicaid and most insurance plans. Check with Medicare or your insurance carrier.

How do I prepare for the screening?

There is no special preparation for this test. It requires you to lay flat on your back on a table. It takes no more than 10 minutes. Wear comfortable clothing with no metal in the area of the chest. If you have metal implants in your chest or back, let the technician know.

Where can I find help quitting smoking?

Call HealthConnection at 1-844-NCH-HEALTH to find out about our programs, including weekly support groups, classes and individual counseling. Or, call the Illinois Quitline at 1-866-QUIT-YES.

Don't wait. The time to know is now.

Ask your healthcare provider if lung cancer screening is appropriate for you. You can have this conversation during your regular check-up. You will need a doctor’s order to schedule a screening.