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Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California’s medical enterprise, one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area.

USC Lung Cancer Program

Lung Cancer Screening and Diagnosis

Whether you need lung cancer screening or in-depth testing for a lung cancer diagnosis, the USC Lung Cancer Program is your trusted ally and advocate in care. Our team of radiology and pulmonology experts leverages the latest technological advances to detect and diagnose lung cancer.

Doctor and patient reviewing an x-ray image of the lungs

Our offerings

  • Bronchoscopy
  • CT-guided core needle biopsy
  • Early detection
  • Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT)
  • Lung cancer diagnosis
  • Lung cancer screening

Focused on early detection

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women in the United States and is also the deadliest; however, detecting lung cancer early through annual screening is a powerful — and effective — tool to improve survival.

At the USC Lung Cancer Program, our highly trained radiologists are experts in detecting cancer. Our lung cancer screening program uses low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), which has been shown to be the most effective method of screening available today. In fact, research has found that people who are at high risk for lung cancer who are screened annually with LDCT have a 20% lower risk of dying from lung cancer than people who are screened using chest X-rays. By taking multiple detailed images of your lungs with LDCT, our radiologists are able to thoroughly evaluate your lungs and identify potential issues.

To participate in our lung cancer screening program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 55 years old; have smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years; and be either a current smoker or have quit within the past 15 years
  • You must be older than 50; have smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years; and have at least one of the following risk factors:
    • Significant chronic lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary 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, lymphoma or head and neck cancer

Our lung cancer screening program is accredited by the American College of Radiology and is designated as a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance. To schedule a lung cancer screening, call (323) 680-3534.

Expert diagnosis

If your lung cancer screening reveals a nodule or mass that requires further examination, our lung cancer experts will perform either a bronchoscopy, CT-guided core needle biopsy and, in some cases, surgical biopsy. The type of procedure used will be based on the size and location of the nodule or mass found in your lungs.

During a bronchoscopy, our pulmonologists will examine the airways in your lungs with a bronchoscope, which is a long, thin tube that has a camera on the end. Inserted through the mouth or nose, the bronchoscope allows our pulmonologists to take a close look at the airways in your lungs and take samples of any suspicious areas.

If a nodule or mass is located in an area of your lungs that can’t be reached with a bronchoscope, our radiologists will perform a CT-guided core needle biopsy. This procedure utilizes images from a CT scan to locate the precise area of your lungs that needs to be tested. Our radiologists will then guide a hollow needle into that area and take a sample to determine whether cancer cells are present.

News and Stories

Meet Jason Ye, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology

Dr. Ye is a radiation oncologist at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at Keck Medicine of USC. He specializes in a wide array of advanced radiation treatment techniques for people with lung, breast, brain and spine tumors. Here’s what you won’t find on his resume. He can’t wait to swim with manta rays in Kona.