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
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.