Karmanos Cancer Institute
Lung Cancer Screening Program

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.

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-ray. The findings revealed that participants who received low-dose helical CT scans had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from lung cancer than participants who received standard chest X-rays.

lung screening certification

Based on this study, physicians at Karmanos Cancer Center developed the Lung Cancer Screening Program centered around offering a yearly CT scan for those who are at an increased risk of lung cancer.

If you have a patient who may be at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, or fits the demographics described below, you can refer them to our Lung Cancer Screening Program.

  • Men and women aged 55-80.
  • Current smokers or former smokers, who quit no more than 15 years ago, with at least 30-pack-year smoking history.
  • The NLST found that smokers in this age group are most likely to benefit from screening.
Go 2 certification

How Lung Cancer Screening Program 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 yearly screening CT scan.

  • Physician Office visit - The screening process includes a visit with a Karmanos physician to discuss risks and benefits of lung cancer screening
  • CT scans - Those who are eligible for the program (generally older adults who have at least a 30-pack-year smoking history) have annual low-dose CT scans.
  • Scan review - A Karmanos radiologist will review the patient’s CT scans for abnormalities and track any yearly changes. We will send the patient’s primary health care provider copies of the results.
  • Follow-up care - The radiologist may recommend follow up with either a Karmanos specialist or primary health care provider for further tests.

Is this covered by insurance?

  • Medicare and many private insurance companies now cover the cost of lung cancer screening CT scans. Patients should check with their health insurance plan to determine if this is a covered benefit.
  • Your patient will be responsible for any deductible and/or co-pay, per their insurance policy.
  • If an abnormality is found, future scans and further workup should be covered by insurance.

Why should I refer my patient to the Lung Cancer Screening Program?

The Karmanos is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Karmanos is the only hospital in Michigan dedicated exclusively to fighting cancer. The Thoracic Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Karmanos Cancer Center participating in this program includes surgeons, medical oncologists, pulmonologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and research coordinators. The experts on this team focus primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer and therefore have a level of expertise that other centers may not have. In addition, lung cancer screening may indicate further follow up that requires this level of expertise. 

How to refer your patient

  • Simply send an email to lungcancerscreening@karmanos.org, or call us at 855-527-LUNG (855-527-5864), with your name and contact information, as well as your patients name and contact information, and a member of our staff will contact you or your patient, depending on your preference, regarding program eligibility.
  • Have the patient fill out a participation form after reviewing the information on this page.

Lung Cancer Screening Form

Quitting Smoking Resources

Karmanos offers recommended resources for healthcare professionals to review to help encourage patients to quit. Click here to access these resources.

More information

Program Leaders


Hirva Mamdani, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Oncology
Karmanos Cancer Institute
Wayne State University School of Medicine

Laura Mantha, R.N. - (313) 576-8401

Lung Cancer Prevention and Facts

Cancer is the most curable in its early stages.

At the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, we know that routine screenings save lives every day. Advocate for your health and talk with a health care professional to make an informed decision on which screenings are right for you.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the United States. More people die from lung cancer than from colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Each year more than 222,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer, and more than 157,000 people will die from the disease.

What is lung cancer?

  • Lung cancer is the growth of cancer cells in the lungs.
  • The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer (the most common) and small cell lung cancer.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States.
  • More people die from lung cancer than from colon, breast and prostate cancers combined.

Who can get lung cancer?

  • Smoking causes 80-90 percent of lung cancer.
  • Tobacco contains at least 60 cancer-causing substances.
  • Men and women who smoke are 23 percent and 13 percent, respectively, more likely to get lung cancer than someone who never smoked.
  • The longer you smoke and the more packs a day you smoke increase the risk of getting lung cancer.
  • Second-hand smoke (breathing in someone else’s smoke) increases the risk of getting lung cancer.

Symptoms of lung cancer

Early lung cancer does not have any symptoms. The earlier lung cancer is found, the greater the chance of survival. It is important to see your health care provider if you have:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away
  • A cough that causes you to bring up blood
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling of the face and neck
  • Arm pain or weakness
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss

Who should be screened for lung cancer?

Early detection of lung cancer increases the chance for successful treatment. Screening for cancer is done with low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT scan). CT scans use low doses of radiation to take detailed pictures of the lungs. Positron emission (PET) scans may be used to look for the spread of cancer. The lung cancer specialists at Karmanos recommend screening for:

  • Individuals between the ages of 55 and 80
  • Current or former smokers with at least a 30 pack-year smoking history
  • Individuals who have smoked one pack a day for 30 years
  • Individuals who have smoked 2 packs a day for 15 years

To make an appointment or to ask questions about lung cancer screening, call 855-527-LUNG (5864).

Help to quit smoking

Call the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669) for FREE information and referral services to Michigan residents who are ready to quit smoking. Call 1-800-KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266) or click here for additional information on quitting and classes available to help you quit.

This information is intended to serve as a guideline only. Screening needs vary for each individual depending on your overall cancer risk. Please consult with a health care professional to decide which screenings are right for you and to make an informed decision.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about any of these topics call the Patient & Community Education Department at 1-800-527-6266.

Frequently Asked Questions

View All