Lung Screening

Early detection of lung cancer is the most powerful way to reduce the risk of death from this disease. Lung screening CT can find lung cancer before symptoms develop and the cancer spreads. It can lower the risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent. 

Lung screening is a painless, noninvasive computed tomography (CT) test that combines X-rays and computer scans. It creates detailed images of your lungs to identify benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumors. The lung screening CT test does not require any special dyes or contrasts.

If you are at high risk for developing lung cancer, you are more likely to benefit from lung screenings. You are considered high risk if:

  • You are between the ages of 55 - 80
  • You smoked cigarettes in the last 15 years
  • You have a smoking history of at least one pack per day for 30 years or a comparable history (for example, ½ pack of cigarettes per day for 60 years)

If you are at high risk for lung cancer, you should receive a yearly lung screening for as long as your doctor recommends.

Lung screening: Why choose Vanderbilt?

Our goal is to save lives by finding and treating lung cancer or lung disease at its earliest, most treatable stages. At Vanderbilt, you will find:

  • A highly skilled medical team: Our radiologists, nurse practitioners and technologists have specialized training and provide expert, compassionate care.
  • Advanced technology: Our team uses American College of Radiology (ACR)-accredited imaging facilities and the latest technology to provide clear, more detailed images to your doctor.
  • Collaborative care: We will provide the results of your test to your referring physician within two business days. If disease is discovered, we work with your doctor and lung experts so you can quickly get a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
  • Locations close to home: We have multiple radiology locations in the greater Nashville area, so you can find a location close to you.
  • Safety: Your safety is one of our top priorities. We are committed to providing high-quality images to inform your treatment plan and minimize your exposure to radiation.

Preparing for a lung screening

Your healthcare provider must order a lung screening before your appointment can be scheduled. If you do not have a healthcare provider, we may be able to assist you. To learn more, call us at (615) 322-0580.

Lung screening CT is considered preventive care if you are at high risk for developing lung cancer. If you are considered high risk, your insurance or Medicare plan should cover the cost of your test in full, with no co-pay. If you are not considered high risk, we can discuss your options with you.

There are no special instructions to follow before the test. 

Arriving for your appointment

You will need to arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment time to check in and complete paperwork.

What will happen during my appointment?

Before your scan begins, you will meet with a nurse practitioner to discuss the specific risks and benefits of this screening test.

During the scan, you will lie on a table that will move you through the center of a doughnut-shaped CT scanner. As you are moved through the scanner, you will need to stay as still as possible. We may ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds while we take images of your chest.

Most lung screening scans take less than 10 seconds. The entire test is usually completed in five minutes. You should plan for your entire visit to be at least 30 minutes. In some cases, it may take longer.

What happens after the lung screening?

There are no special instructions to follow after the test. 

A nurse practitioner or radiologist will call to discuss your results within two business days. Your results will be available online if you use My Health at Vanderbilt, our secure online health tool. We will also mail a letter with the results to you. 

If there is an abnormality, results will be shared with your referring doctor, who will discuss any necessary follow-up steps with you. You may need additional imaging tests or an appointment with a pulmonologist (lung doctor). 

Are there other lung screening options?

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center offers a lung cancer screening clinical trial for eligible participants. Participants are offered a series of screening tests and close follow-up over the course of five years. For more information, call us at (615) 322-0580.

Learn more about lung cancer treatment at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

Lung Screening: Locations

Our experienced team sees patients at multiple locations throughout the greater Nashville area. To find the location closest to you, call (615) 936-3606.

Franklin
Cool Springs Imaging
2009 Mallory Lane, Suite 150
Franklin, TN 37067
Maps and Directions

Nashville
Hillsboro Imaging
1909 Acklen Avenue
Nashville, TN 37212
Maps and Directions

One Hundred Oaks Imaging
719 Thompson Lane, Suite 23300
Nashville, TN 37204
Maps and Directions

Contact Us

For questions about a lung screening, call us at (615) 322-0580.

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