Harvard Men's Health Watch

Screening for lung cancer: Are you a candidate for this test?

In lung cancer screening, an otherwise healthy person gets a CT scan to check for small tumors that have not started to cause problems. Screening is recommended for current or former smokers who smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years and have quit less than 15 years ago. If a scan picks up an abnormality, follow-up scans will be required. Additional procedures, like biopsies, may also be required to confirm or rule out cancer. The risk of complications from the screening is relatively small. Abnormal findings from a scan can also cause fear or anxiety. It’s important to weigh the risks and benefits of screening and to have it done at a location with experience diagnosing and treating lung cancer.
To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »