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Lung Cancer Screening Program

Siteman Cancer Network logo

Lung cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms, which makes regular screenings (if you meet recommended guidelines, listed below) vitally important. It also increases the likelihood of catching lung cancer in its earlier and more treatable stages.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States – deaths that could potentially be prevented by early detection through lung cancer screening. Alton Memorial Hospital is committed to lowering the risk of death from lung cancer, while minimizing the potential harms that can occur after screening.

Our carefully designed program includes the following:

  • Encouragement of screening only for those likely to benefit
  • Follows U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and American College of Radiology guidelines on lung cancer screening
  • Interpretation by dedicated thoracic radiology from Clinical Radiologists
  • Standardized reporting using the American College of Radiology Lung-RADSTM system
  • Same day or next morning screen interpretation
  • Negative results mailed to patient and primary care providers are notified
  • Abnormal results phoned and mailed to patient and primary care provider notified
  • Emphasis on smoking cessation  

Frequently asked questions

Who can get screened for lung cancer?

Lung cancer screening is only appropriate for people who may be at higher risk for lung cancer due to their history of smoking. People with a history of cigarette smoking have a high risk of lung cancer. In fact, tobacco use accounts for almost 90% of all lung cancers. The more cigarettes you smoke per day and the earlier you started smoking, the greater your risk of lung cancer.

Not everyone should be screened for lung cancer. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommend lung cancer screening if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are between 50 and 77 years old
  • Have a smoking history of at least “20 pack-years”
    • Examples:
      • Smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years
      • Smoked 2 packs a day for 10 years
  • You are a current Smoker, or have quit within the last 15 years

Next Steps if you meet the criteria above:

  • You will need to talk with your doctor to decide if screening is right for you
  • A doctor’s order is required to be scheduled for screening

To schedule your lung screening, call 618.463.7647, speak with your primary care provider or request an appointment.

What are the costs of a lung cancer screening?

Low-radiation-dose CT (LDCT) lung screening is covered by most private insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid. Patients must have a shared decision-making visit with a medical provider prior to their lung cancer screening. Check with your doctor prior to scheduling your screening.

What are low-radiation-dose CT lung scans?

The screening test is performed with a low-radiation-dose CT (LDCT). LDCT scans have a lower radiation dose than a chest X-ray or a standard CT scan. The LDCT scanner rotates around your body, while you lie still on a table that passes through the center of the scanner. The LDCT scan provides detailed images of the inside of your body, including tissues within an organ.

How long does the screening take?

Each exam takes only about five minutes, and we strive to have you in and out in less than an hour.

How quickly will I receive my results?

Results should be available within 24-48 hours either in My Chart or from your ordering physician.

What happens if the screening finds an abnormality?

Your results will be read by our world-class physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. If an abnormality is found, it does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. Small nodules and other abnormalities are found in about 1 in 5 LDCT scans. Most of these do not turn out to be cancer. Should your results require further assessment, you will be referred to a Pulmonologist for monitoring and assessment (which is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurances). A member of your Alton Memorial Hospital care team will discuss your next steps with you and answer any questions you may have.

What happens if cancer is found?

If cancer is found, a member of your Alton Memorial Hospital care team will work with you and your physician on a treatment plan.

Are there risks associated with the screening?

As with any scan of this kind, you will be exposed to some radiation, which has the potential for health risks. However, because our team uses a low-radiation-dose CT scan (LDCT), there is less exposure than with traditional lung cancer tests. It’s important to discuss these and other risks with your doctor.

Are you ready to quit smoking?

Quitting smoking lowers your risk of getting lung cancer and other diseases of the lungs, heart, blood, and brain.

You can get FREE help quitting, at:

More information

For more information or to schedule a lung cancer screening, speak with your primary care provider, call 618.463.7647 or request an appointment.

Find a Doctor

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 618.463.7220 or 800.392.0936
General Information: 618.463.7311
Alton Memorial Hospital
One Memorial Drive
Alton, Illinois 62002

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