To schedule a CT screening, call (323) 680-3534

Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. That’s because most people with the disease are diagnosed after the cancer has already become advanced. Since 2013, the Multidisciplinary Lung Cancer Program at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has fought to change that by establishing a multidisciplinary lung cancer screening program.

Why should I get screened?

The recent National Lung Screening Trial conducted by the National Cancer Institute showed that screening high-risk individuals using LDCT scanning can reduce lung cancer-related deaths. The trial involved more than 53,000 individuals between the ages of 55 and 74 years old who were current or former smokers. The study established that LDCT screenings detected significantly more patients with lung cancer than standard chest X-ray and that LDCT screenings were associated with a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer-related deaths. 

Lung cancer screening with LDCT scan has been advocated by all major professional societies in pulmonary medicine, radiation and medical oncology, and thoracic surgery.

Who is eligible?

  1. Men and women over the age of 55 who have smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years who are currently smoking or have quit within the past 15 years.
  2. Men and women over the age of 50 who have smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years who also have at least one of the following risk factors: significant chronic lung disease (COPD, pulmonary fibrosis); exposure to toxins such as radon, asbestos, coal and diesel fumes; a first-degree relative with lung cancer; a personal history of lung cancer, head and neck cancer or lymphoma.

Will insurance cover this?

If you have Medicare and meet the eligibility criteria, Medicare will cover the test as long as you receive an order from your primary care provider. For more information on criteria, go to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.

Many private insurance companies (including all Covered California plans) are also now covering lung cancer screening; however, this should be verified with your individual plan. Even if your insurance does not cover the test, Keck Medicine of USC offers the test and interpretation at a cost of $200. Patients who need subsequent scans and/or tests should consult with their insurance companies to determine coverage.

A Multidisciplinary Approach

To ensure the most adequate follow-up care for patients, USC specialists in chest radiology, thoracic surgery, pulmonary medicine and oncology review each patient’s history, risk factors and LDCT findings, then provide the patient and his/her primary physician with their recommendations. An experienced lung cancer nurse navigator helps patients from the initial phone call through any necessary follow-up visits to maintain continuity of care. The Keck Medical Center of USC is one of the original centers designated as a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance.