A comprehensive lung cancer screening exam at Rush can find the disease at an early stage, when it's more likely to be curable.
Lung cancer causes about 25% of all cancer deaths each year, and is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Annual lung cancer screenings are important if you are at high risk. In fact, it's as important as getting your regular mammogram or colonoscopy — and research shows that it's even more effective at saving lives than either of those tests.
The screening exam requires an order from your primary care doctor. It's quick and easy, with no prep or downtime required.
Guidelines for Lung Cancer Screening
If you meet all three of the following lung cancer screening criteria, you're considered to be at high risk for lung cancer and eligible for lung cancer screening:
- You're between the ages of age 55 and 77 (for Medicare coverage) or 55 and 80 (for private insurance coverage).
- You're a current smoker or have quit within the last 15 years. (If you're a current smoker, we can help you quit.)
- You have a "30 pack-year" history of smoking, calculated by multiplying the number of packs smoked per day times the number of years you've smoked. For example: One pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, three packs a day for 10 years, etc.
To be screened, you need to meet these criteria but not have any signs or symptoms of lung cancer — and you need to be able to undergo treatment if your screening detects lung cancer.
How Lung Cancer Screening Works at Rush
During the screening, you'll lie on an exam table as it moves through a low-dose CT scanner. The technician performing the test will ask you to hold your breath a couple of times to get the best possible images of your lungs.
That's it: Screening takes only a few minutes. You'll get the results of your screening from your primary care doctor.
If the screening shows that you need further testing or a follow-up visit with a specialist, we'll contact your primary care provider, who will work with you on your next steps.
Talk to Your Doctor
Talk to your primary care doctor about your smoking history and the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening. If you're a candidate for screening, your doctor can order the test for you.
Rush Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening
- A Screening Center of Excellence: Awarded to Rush University Medical Center, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush’s South Loop and Oak Brook locations, this designation from the Go2Foundation for Lung Cancer recognizes Rush's commitment to responsible, high-quality screening practices.
- Expert care from board-certified radiologists: Our lung imaging specialists have years of experience in reading lung cancer screening results. They also ensure that you get the lowest possible radiation dose during your screening.
- Catching issues early: Our expertise in identifying early-stage lung cancers means that you'll benefit from minimally invasive treatment options that offer faster recovery, less pain and a quicker return to daily activities.
- A team approach: If your screening shows that you need to follow up with a specialist, our screening radiologists work closely with Rush lung cancer specialists. Our medical oncologists, interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists and thoracic surgeons collaborate to create a personal treatment plan for every patient.