Lung Cancer Screening Using Low-Dose CT

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women worldwide. Low-dose computerized tomography (CT) lung screening can save lives of individuals at high-risk of developing lung cancer. CT lung screening uses special x-ray technology to scan the body and make a series of detailed images of the lungs. This type of test can detect lung cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, among others, recommend that current and former smokers at high-risk for lung cancer discuss the appropriateness of the CT lung screening with their primary care provider.

Eligibility Requirements

Burnett Medical Center's Diagnostic Imaging Department offers CT lung screening to individuals with a high risk of developing lung cancer. The screening is recommended for those who meet the following eligibility requirements:

Age 55 to 74 years old
Currently a smoker or have quit within the past 15 years
Smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 30+ years or two packs a day for 15 years
No history of lung cancer themselves


Coverage for CT lung cancer screening may vary among insurance companies. To ensure compliance with your medical insurance, all orders are authorized through our Prior Authorization Coordinator. If you do not have insurance, you will need to cover the entire cost of the screening before services are performed. Please contact our Patient Financial Counselor at 715-463-7247 to set up payment for this service.

Other Considerations

Lung cancer screening has some risks. Before undergoing a CT lung screening you should understand and discuss the potential risks and benefits of the test with your provider.

False Alarms
CT lung screening works by finding lung nodules (small masses of tissue in the lung). Lung nodules can be cancerous, but the vast majority (over 96%) of nodules detected are not cancer. These false positive findings may cause anxiety. However, understanding that the majority of lung nodules found do not represent cancer helps avoid anxiety.

Additional Testing
If a nodule is detected, your provider may recommend periodic follow up scans to monitor for changes. If a lung nodule is new or has changed in size, shape or appearance, your provider may recommend further testing such as a CT scan or tissue biopsy to determine if it is cancerous.

Radiation Exposure
In addition, CT lung screening requires a small amount of radiation exposure similar to that used in breast screening. Any exposure to radiation carries some inherent risk. This exposure will be monitored and recorded for your safety.

Scheduling a Screening

An order for the CT lung screening must be placed by your primary care provider. To schedule an appointment with your provider to discuss whether or not the screening would be beneficial and safe for you, please call 715-463-5353 or 800-293-5353.

You can also learn more about whether the screening may be a good choice for you by visiting