What to Expect During Lung Cancer Screening

Before lung cancer screening, you meet with a doctor or a nurse practitioner from the Lung Cancer Screening Program for an evaluation.

A lung cancer screening at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center is quick and painless. It involves a low-dose CT scan. No drugs or injections are used. For the CT scan, you lie on a table that slides through the CT scanner. You are asked to keep very still and hold your breath for the 20-second duration of the scan itself. Including preparation, the entire procedure takes only about five minutes.

You may be asked to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment to check in and prepare for the study at our imaging center. After your scan, a doctor reviews the CT images, as well as the radiologist’s interpretation of them, and then calls you to discuss the results and answer any questions you may have. The results and any recommendations for follow-up are sent to you and your physician.

Our current recommendation is that if your initial scan is normal, but you are at high risk for lung cancer, you should consider annual screenings until age 80, or until you have quit smoking for more than 15 years.

Most insurance companies cover the cost of the test. However, some insurance plans require copayments. Check with your insurance company about your individual coverage.