Lung Cancer Screening

We’re here for you and appointments are available

As a safety precaution, all exam areas and equipment is thoroughly cleaned after each appointment. Other safety measures include:

  • A temperature check and screening questions before entry
  • Masks for patients and staff members
  • Physical distancing in waiting areas

If you have questions about a lung cancer screening appointment, please call 314-747-3046. Newly diagnosed patients also may call the registered nurses in our Patient Care Coordination Center, toll-free at 800-600-3606 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Lung cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms, which makes regular screenings (if you’re eligible) 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. Siteman Cancer Center 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, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and American College of Radiology guidelines on lung cancer screening
  • Dedicated Nurse Navigator to assist patients and their health care providers throughout screening and follow-up
  • Interpretation by dedicated thoracic radiology subspecialists at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology
  • 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 provider
  • Abnormal results phoned and mailed to patient and primary care provider by dedicated Nurse Navigator
  • Automatic referral to a Washington University thoracic surgeon for monitoring and management of abnormalities possibly due to lung cancer
  • Emphasis on smoking cessation

Call 314-747-3046 to schedule your lung screening. Contact your doctor first for a referral.

Lung Cancer Screening May

 

Our lung cancer specialists

Our lung cancer screening program is comprised of 12 fellowship-trained thoracic radiologists, making our program the largest in Missouri. Seven of our thoracic radiologists were members of the original National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), a study that compared two ways of detecting lung cancer: low-dose helical CT and standard chest X-ray. The study was published in 2003 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The NLST was a defining moment in the history of lung cancer research: it demonstrated that low-dose CT scanning was associated with a 20 percent decrease in lung cancer deaths in both current and former smokers.

The Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (MIR) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has one of the largest thoracic imaging and cardiac radiology services in the country, interpreting about 120,000 chest radiographs, 12,000 chest CTs and performing 250 lung biopsies every year. Our thoracic radiologists have unique expertise in thoracic MRI and are sought around the world to speak on MRI of the chest.

Our thoracic radiologists are renowned for their accomplishments in lung cancer research and chest imaging. Our members include past presidents of the North American Society for Cardiovascular Imaging (NASCI), the Society of Thoracic Radiology (STR) and the Society of Advanced Body Imaging (SABI). We have also had 2 members of the Fleischner Society, a prestigious international society dedicated to thoracic disease.

Yearly lung cancer screening: Is it right for me?

Frequently asked questions

Who can get screened for lung cancer?

  • If you are 50-80 years old and have a smoking history of 20 pack years or more, you can get screened for lung cancer.

Examples of at least a 20 pack year smoking history

1 pack per day for 20 years, three-quarters of a pack a day for 30 years or half a pack a day for 40 years

Calculate your pack year history

  • If you have smoked this amount or more, you may be eligible for lung cancer screening.
  • You can get screened even if you quit smoking, as long as you quit in the past 15 years.

What are the costs of a lung cancer screen?

Costs may differ based on your specific benefit and coverage information, as well as the specific services you receive. Please contact your insurance provider to ask about your expected out-of-pocket costs.

Medicare currently covers the costs of lung cancer screening for eligible patients. Many private insurance companies do as well. In some cases, you may have to pay a portion of the costs.

What if my results are abnormal?

Lung nodules are very common and most are benign, often resulting from past infections or scar tissue. Still, if a lung nodule is detected during your screening, more testing will likely be needed to determine whether the nodule is cancerous. The next step is usually a repeat CT scan, which may take place a few months to a year after the first scan, to determine if the nodule has grown. Based on the results of this scan, your doctor may order further imaging tests, such as a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. If the nodule has grown or has other concerning features, your doctor will then need to perform a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis.

Your results will be read by our world-class physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Should your results require further assessment, Siteman Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary team can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation and treatment options.

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-dose CT scan, there is less exposure than with traditional lung cancer tests. It’s important to discuss these risks and other risks with your doctor.

What are low-dose CT lung scans?

A low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) image takes many pictures of your lungs, so a specialist can scan the images for cancer. Because LDCT scans are “low-dose,” they use a reduced amount of radiation compared to other CT imaging. During the scan, which takes about a minute, you’ll lie on a table while a technologist performs the test. There are no needles used or contrast dyes used.

Nurse navigators

Megan Gibson, RN, MSN, 314-203-5552 for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital and Siteman – South County
Ellen Brennan, RN, BSN, 636-916-7098, for Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Progress West Hospital
Karmen Fugate, RN, MSN, OCN, 314-653-4529, for Christian Hospital and Northwest Healthcare

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:

  • Tobacco Quitline: Individual telephone counseling, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
  • On-Line Quit Plan: Supportive texts, smartphone application, and calendar, smokefree.gov.
  • Washington University Center for Smoking Cessation, 314-747-QUIT (7848) or email quitsmoking@wustl.edu
  • American Cancer Society Quit For Life Program, 1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE (1-866-784-8454)

For information on calculating your lung cancer risk: