UMass Memorial Lung Screening Program
Are you a smoker or former smoker? Is there a history of lung cancer in your family? UMass Memorial now offers a state-of-the-art Lung Screening Program for people at risk for lung cancer--because early detection saves lives.
You can rely on our team of lung cancer experts in the UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence, which includes specialists in chest radiology, pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, and medical and radiation oncologists.
Finding lung cancer
Most lung cancers are found as a result of symptoms, such as pain or cough. These symptoms usually don't appear until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. But when lung cancer is found early and treated, the survival rate may increase to more than 70 percent. That's why screening is so important.
Researchers have been looking for a reliable way to find lung cancer earlier, and a CT lung scan seems to be the best tool available.
If you're worried about your risk for lung cancer, the UMass Memorial Lung Screening Program can help you get answers to your questions. Screening is done with a low-dose CT scan, a non-invasive imaging test that is similar to a chest X-ray but far more detailed. With screening, our doctors can determine the health of your lungs and your risk for lung cancer.
Who should have a lung screening CT scan?
- Anyone who is age 55-80 with a 30 "pack-year" history* of smoking who currently smokes or who quit within the last 15 years.
- Anyone who is age 50 or older with a 20 pack-year history of smoking who currently smokes or who quit within the last 15 years and has one or more of the following risk factors:
- Chronic lung disease
- A family or personal history of cancer
- Occupational exposure to carcinogens
- Residential radon exposure
*A "pack-year" is a measure of how much you've smoked over time. Multiply the number of packs of cigarettes you smoke per day times the number of years you've smoked. If you smoked two packs a day for 15 years, you have a 30 pack-year history (2 x 15 =30). If you smoked half a pack a day for 10 years, you have a five pack-year history (0.5 x 10 = 5).
You do not need to be a patient at UMass Memorial to be screened, and you can refer yourself or be referred by a physician or your primary care provider. Call us at 774-442-LUNG (5864)
Our criteria for lung screening is based on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines along with National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), a nationwide study that compared CT scans and chest X-rays to detect lung cancer at an earlier, curable, stage.
The benefits of the UMass Memorial Lung Screening Program
- A low-dose chest CT scan
- One-on-one consultation with a board-certified radiologist
- Our clinical coordinator who will be with you to answer any questions before, during and after the screening to ensure you have a comfortable and pleasant experience
- Our radiologist who will review and discuss your imaging results and findings directly with you, immediately after your scan. You will receive a written report and a copy of your CT scan on disc before you leave
- Access to the multispecialty lung care team in the UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence (including radiologists, pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, and medical and radiation oncologists)
- Smoking cessation counseling and treatment is available for active smokers
Health insurance coverage for lung screening
Right now, most health care plans do not cover the cost of screening, but you may be able to submit your receipt for reimbursement by your flexible health care spending account.
At UMass Memorial, lung screening currently costs $250 per scan.* You will be responsible for this payment, which is expected at the time of screening. Research suggests that people at high risk will benefit most from annual screenings for three years.
*In Massachusetts, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day can cost more than $3,000 per year. Use this calculator to figure out how much smoking costs you.
What to expect during screening
After you check in, you will be greeted by our clinical coordinator, who will help you through your visit. Our radiation technologist will ask you to lie flat on your back on the CT exam table. The table will move slowly through the machine as the CT scan is done. You'll be asked to hold your breath and lie still for about 10-15 seconds.
Decreasing your radiation exposure
At UMass Memorial Medical Center, we are dedicated to limiting your radiation exposure. This starts with our commitment to performing imaging only when it is necessary and appropriate. When imaging is required, we use the latest strategies to limit your radiation dose.
Call now to make an appointment:
UMass Memorial Medical Center
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655