Lung CT Screening

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Your doctor may recommend a lung CT screening if you smoke cigarettes or have smoked in the past, have a family history of cancer, or have been exposed to harmful substances such as radon. The screening is safe, quick, and painless. It can help detect lung disease, including lung cancer, at the earliest-possible stage when it is easier to treat. Our goal is to provide you with the safest care to keep you healthy.

You have access to the latest advances in lung screening at our locations in Durham and Wake counties. Telehealth visits are available by both video and telephone.

Find out if you could qualify for lung cancer screening.

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Do I Need a Lung Screening?

Lung cancer is most treatable when diagnosed early. Lung screening is recommended if you are between 50 and 80 years of age and meet the following criteria: 

  • Currently smoke cigarettes or quit smoking less than 15 years ago
  • Smoked at least 20 pack-years during your lifetime (A pack-year is the number of packs you smoked per day multiplied by the number of years you smoked.)

A screening may also be appropriate if you have one or more of these risk factors:

Early detection of lung cancer puts you in control of your health and greatly increases your chances of receiving effective treatment.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

The Lung Screening Process

Your care team includes radiologists who are specialists in lung imaging. We use the most advanced diagnostic screening tool available, the low-dose CT scan. It is considered the most accurate way to detect lung cancer.

An Easy, Painless Exam and Quick Results

A low-dose CT scan produces high-resolution images of your lungs. It is painless and takes just minutes to perform. There are no requirements for fasting or blood tests, and you can wear normal clothing for the exam. Your results are posted in My Duke Health (previously Duke MyChart) less than 24 hours after your appointment, and our office team will help you understand your test results via a video or telephone visit shortly after your appointment scan.

If other studies or treatments are required, this quick turnaround enables you and your provider to determine next steps as soon as possible.

Low-Dose Radiation Poses Minimal Risks

Low-dose CT scans use less radiation than other CT scans but can effectively detect disease in your lungs and chest in the safest way possible. The benefits of finding a life-threatening disease typically outweigh the minimal risk of radiation exposure from a medically supervised, low-dose lung screening. Our cardiothoracic imaging specialists and radiologists have had extensive training to ensure they use the least amount of radiation necessary while maintaining the highest image quality.

False Positives

Sometimes your test results will show a finding in your lungs that may alert your doctor, and a diagnosis won't be clear without further testing. This means your doctor may recommend additional imaging tests or a biopsy to make a more informed diagnosis.

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Why It’s Important to Detect Lung Disease Early

The images produced by low-dose CT scans can show early-stage tumors that may be too small to cause symptoms or be detected by a traditional chest X-ray. According to National Cancer Institute research, people at high risk for lung cancer who are screened with a low-dose CT scan experience a 20% reduction in lung cancer-related deaths, compared to those who have a chest X-ray. 

Choose Duke for Your Lung Cancer Screening

Accredited Lung Cancer Screening Program
We offer lung CT screenings in Durham and Wake counties. Our program is accredited by the American College of Radiology. This designation is for programs that meet high standards and are run by board-certified radiologists with specialty training in lung cancer screening and detection. Our program is also recognized as a Screening Center of Excellence by the GO2 for Lung Cancer Foundation.

Immediate Access to Lung Cancer Experts
If your scan shows findings that you may have lung cancer, we can provide a fast referral to our lung cancer specialists. Our experts provide personalized treatment plans, state-of-the-art medical and surgical care, and access to clinical trials.

Support and Education
We offer access to smoking cessation services, pulmonary rehabilitation, counseling, and a full spectrum of patient and family support to help educate you about lung diseases and how to prevent and treat them.

National Accreditation for Lung Cancer Screening

Our imaging facilities and equipment are accredited by the American College of Radiology, which represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety

This page was medically reviewed on 03/02/2023 by