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Lung Cancer Screening Program

Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. However, lung cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers. The best way to prevent the disease is to quit smoking. Screening can also reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer.

While not every smoker will develop lung cancer, early detection of the disease increases the chance of successful treatment. That’s why it’s important for men and women ages 55-80 who have at least a 30-pack-year smoking history (meaning you have smoked the equivalent of at least one pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years, or two packs per day for 15 years, etc.) to enroll in the program.

The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST), run by The National Cancer Institute, compared two ways of detecting lung cancer - through 3 annual low-dose helical CT scans and standard chest x-rays. The findings revealed that participants who received the CT scans had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from lung cancer than participants who received standard chest X-rays.

Who should be screened?

  • Men and women aged 55-80.
  • Current smokers or former smokers, who quit no more than 15 years ago, with a least a 30-pack-year smoking history (meaning you have smoked the equivalent of at least one pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years, or two packs per day for 15 years, etc.).
  • The NLST found that smokers in this age group are most likely to benefit from screening.

How Lung Cancer Screening Works

Screening for lung cancer is a process, and cannot be completed with a single test.  The data available show that individuals who do qualify for lung cancer screening should have a screening CT scan once a year for 3 years.  Whether scans should be repeated beyond 3 years is not yet known. To realize the greatest benefit of screening (reducing your risk of dying from lung cancer), you must adhere to your doctor’s directions regarding screening and smoking cessation.

  • CT scans - Those who are eligible for the program have annual low-dose CT scans over a three-year period. Each CT scan takes pictures of the inside of the lungs in about 5-10 seconds. A CT scan can detect small abnormalities. Karmanos performs screening CT scans at its Weisberg Center in Farmington Hills.
  • Scan review - A Karmanos radiologist will review your CT scans for abnormalities and track any yearly changes. We will send you and your primary health care provider copies of the results. Any abnormality detected will be considered a positive scan.
  • Follow-up care - The radiologist may recommend follow up with either a Karmanos Cancer Center specialist or your primary health care physician. It’s important to note that a recommendation for further tests does not necessarily mean that lung cancer is suspected.  If you receive a letter that indicates normal CT scan results, no further action is necessary until your next annual CT scan.

Is this covered by my insurance?

  • Currently no Michigan insurance companies are covering the cost of lung cancer screening CT scans.  However, we will check with your insurance plan to confirm that the policy has not changed.
  • As a result of a generous donation from the Gianni Ferrarotti Lung Cancer Foundation, your out-of-pocket cost for the initial CT scan is only $100.
  • If the initial CT shows no abnormality, subsequent scans will also cost $100.
  • If an abnormality is found, future scans and further workup should be covered by insurance.

How to Participate

If you would like to take part in this program, please fill out the participation form below. You can fill the form out online, or download the PDF version and email or fax it to us. If you have any questions please visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage.

How will I know if I qualify for the program?

We will contact you to determine your eligibility after you complete and submit the participation form.

Are there risks to participating?

  • False-positive results wherein an abnormality is detected but turns out not to be cancer.
  • Physical harm from the process of evaluating abnormal findings, including biopsy, additional testing, or surgery.

Is there an alternative option?

If you believe you would benefit from screening but cannot commit financially to the screening program, or if you are not eligible for the screening program, consider enrolling in the INHALE Study, conducted by Karmanos Cancer Center and Wayne State University, and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. If you are eligible for INHALE, the study covers the cost of one CT scan. Call 1-866-828-2339 for more information.

Who should I contact for information about quitting smoking?

  • Call the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
  • View these additional resources on our website

For more Information about the Lung Cancer Screening Program

Call 855-527-LUNG (855-527-5864) Toll Free or email lungcancerscreening@karmanos.org.

Currently, the cost of participating in the Karmanos Lung Cancer Screening Program is being partially underwritten thanks to the generous donation and support of the Gianni Ferrarotti Lung Cancer Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to increasing lung cancer awareness and supporting research that will lead to early detection and better treatment options. To join them in the fight, visit gianniscause.org

Administrators of this Program are:

Co-Directors
Shirish Gadgeel, M.D., Wayne State University School of Medicine, Department of Oncology and Karmanos Cancer Center

Ayman Soubani, M.D., Wayne State University School of Medicine, Department of Oncology and Karmanos Cancer Center

Coordinators
Laura Mantha, R.N. - (313) 576-8401
Stephanie S. Pandolfi, Ph.D. - (313) 578-4318
© 2014 Karmanos Cancer Institute Pencil
The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center is accredited by The Joint Commission.
If members of the public have any quality-of-care or safety concerns, they may notify The Joint Commission at 630-792-5800.