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Lung Cancer Screening Program

Lung cancer is the single leading cause of cancer death in the United States, killing more than 160,000 people each year. Eighty-five percent of lung cancer cases are caused from smoking cigarettes.

Early screening leads to a higher chance of finding cancer in its early stages. If found early, there are more treatment options for lung cancer, and survival rates are greatly improved.

Lung Cancer Screening

UI Health provides lung cancer screenings for people who are:

  • 55-80 years old, or 55-77 years old with Medicare
  • A current smoker, or a person who quit smoking less than 15 years ago
  • Former smokers with a history of at least 30 pack-years (one pack-year is equal to smoking one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years)

Lung cancer screening is done by a low-dose computer tomography (CT) scan, which is painless and takes just a few minutes; the cost of the screening is covered by most insurance plans. If you meet the above criteria, we will work with you on insurance precertification, if needed. As with all efforts directed at decreasing rates of lung cancer, we also strongly encourage patients to quit smoking. To learn more about services we provide than can help, visit our Tobacco Treatment Center.

How to Get Screened

Talk to your primary care physician or pulmonologist to see if you are a candidate for lung cancer screening. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of screening, and if you qualify for screening, they will order a low-dose CT for lung screening for you.

Early Detection for Lung Cancer Saves Lives

A recent study done by the National Screening Trial Research Team showed that patients who get screened earlier with low-dose CT are 20% less likely to die from lung cancer than those who didn't get screened. Low-dose CT screenings offer better cancer detection at earlier stages, when lung cancer is more easily treated. This test uses a low dose of radiation to make detailed pictures of the lungs so a doctor can evaluate their health. During the CT,  you will be asked to lie flat and still on an exam table and hold your arms over your head. Then, you will be asked to hold your breath for 5–10 seconds for the scan. No needles or IVs are used; the scan is painless; and the whole process only takes a few minutes.

Smoking Cessation

Cigarette smoking causes 85% of lung cancer deaths in the United States. If you are a heavy smoker, screening cannot substitute for smoking cessation. We understand that quitting smoking is easier said than done, but you are not alone. The Tobacco Treatment Center at UI Health can help you find the best approach to stop your dependence on tobacco. We will be there to stop your dependence on tobacco. We will be there to support and help you succeed.

Lung Cancer Screening Insurance Information

The cost of the lung screening is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, if you are at high risk for lung cancer. If you meet the above criteria for screening, we will work with you on insurance precertification, if needed.

Contact the Lung Cancer Screening Program

For more information about our Lung Cancer Screening Program, please call Mary Pasquinelli, APN, at 312.996.0350 or email lungscreen@uic.edu.