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Lung Cancer Screenings

Smoking raises your risk of lung cancer. But even if you’ve been smoking for years, a healthier you is still possible. Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, gets your care off to a good start with lung cancer screening. This test enables us to detect the early signs of lung cancer when you have better chances for successful treatment. 

What you need to know about lung cancer screening

  • People with a history of smoking multiple packs a day over many years face the highest lung cancer risk. Some people get lung cancer years after they quit smoking. Some never get cancer.
  • We use a special type of imaging test called low-dose computed tomography (CT). The scan checks for abnormal growths (nodules) that could signal cancer.
  • Some nodules are noncancerous and do not need treatment. But nodules can become cancerous over time. That is why it’s important to receive regular screening tests.
  • Most insurance plans cover lung cancer screenings. If you don’t have insurance, our team has specialists who can help you explore your options.

Schedule your lung cancer screening today

To get more information about our services or to schedule your lung cancer screening, contact us.

Why choose us for lung cancer screening?

Our whole-person approach includes addressing immediate health concerns with an eye toward your long-term well-being.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Personalized care: We take time to learn about your health history to determine whether lung cancer screening is right for you. We explain what to expect and can help you make the appointment if necessary.
  • Focus on prevention: Quitting smoking is the best way to lower your lung cancer risk, and we can help you do it. Our researchers are exploring innovative methods to help people quit for good, such as providing support via text message.
  • Advanced testing: We use sophisticated procedures to evaluate suspicious nodules without surgery. Lung disease specialists (interventional pulmonologists) use tiny imaging devices that go down your throat/windpipe to take tissue samples. With these tests, we can confirm or rule out lung cancer with a high degree of accuracy. Read more about our lung cancer program.
  • Long-term monitoring: We regularly assess noncancerous lung nodules to check for small changes that could signal cancer. You get care from experienced lung cancer doctors you can trust.

Who should have a lung cancer screening?

You may be eligible for yearly lung cancer screening tests if you:

  1. Are between 55 and 79 years old
  2. Used to smoke (or currently smoke) a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years
  3. Are a current smoker or quit smoking in the last 15 years

What happens during a low-dose CT scan?

Here’s what to expect:

  • Low-dose CT scans are more effective than traditional X-rays in identifying suspicious growths.
  • You wear normal clothing during the test. You will not need any shots or have to drink dye or other substances beforehand.
  • While lying on a special table, the CT scanner takes pictures of your lungs from different angles.
  • Technology puts the images together to form 3D views of your lungs.