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Diseases and Disorders
USC Lung Cancer Screening Program

To schedule a low-dose CT examination directly, please call (323) 442-7450.
To speak to an expert in the USC Thoracic Oncology Program, please call (323) 865-3111.

The Lung Cancer Screening Program at the University of Southern California offers high risk individuals the opportunity to test for and identify early lung cancers before symptoms develop. Located at the Keck Medical Center of USC, our program aims to provide information about both the risks and benefits of screening, so patients who are referred to the program can make an informed decision about whether a screening is right for them.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States. Recent results from a large randomized, controlled study called the National Lung Screening Trial demonstrate for the first time that lung cancer screening saves lives. This study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), randomly assigned over 53,000 at-risk smokers or former smokers to receive an annual screening with either chest CT or chest radiography.

Results of this study indicate that for every 10,000 persons who undergo annual CT screening (compared with chest x-ray), there will be:

  • 35 fewer deaths from lung cancer, similar to the benefits of screening with annual mammography in women starting at age 50
  • 21 fewer deaths from other causes
  • 1,700 additional abnormal results that require follow-up or further evaluation, highlighting the importance of care coordination and a multidisciplinary team-based approach

Services We Provide:

  • Multidisciplinary input from our experienced team of specialists in pulmonary medicine, diagnostic radiology, thoracic surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology - all members of the USC Thoracic Oncology Program.
  • Shared, informed decision-making to help individuals decide whether screening is the right choice
  • Low-dose and diagnostic CT using a multi-detector scanner and state-of-the-art protocols for imaging and interpretation by dedicated thoracic radiologists
  • Prompt, reliable follow-up of screening-detected nodules facilitated by trained patient navigator
  • State-of-the-art, advanced diagnostic methods for non-invasive and minimally invasive evaluation, including integrated PET/CT, CT-guided transthoracic core needle biopsy, electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy, and endobronchial ultrasound
  • Expertise in minimally invasive lung resections performed by dedicated thoracic surgeons
  • Non-surgical treatment options, including stereotactic radiosurgery, radiofrequency ablation, and cryoablation
  • Advanced radiotherapy methods, including Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
  • Opportunities to participate in trials of chemo-prevention, diagnosis and targeted treatment
  • Smoking cessation counseling

What is a Low Dose CT?
The screening chest CT scan is a unique test with lower doses of radiation than a regular CT scan. Since these scans are being performed on potentially normal individuals who are young, it is critical that this protocol is followed by the radiologists to minimize any potential harmful side effects of the scan.

What does screening for lung cancer entail?
A low radiation dose CT scan is performed annually for 3 years to complete the screening protocol. The need to repeat the scan over 3 years ensures that nothing is missed, and also ensures follow up of any nodules to determine if they grow or change. If any abnormality is detected on the initial scan then your insurance should cover the remaining scans or any other test that is necessary.

Who is Eligible for Screening?
Men and women, ages 55-74 years, current and former smokers who smoked the equivalent of at least one pack per day for 30 years. It is estimated that as 7 million Americans may be eligible.

Who is Eligible for Follow-up?
Any adult with one or more screening-detected or incidentally detected lung nodules on chest radiography or chest CT.

Will My Insurance Cover the Cost?
At this time, a few private insurance companies will cover the cost of lung cancer screening. For those individuals who do not have insurance coverage of this benefit, we have arranged with the hospital a very reasonable cost for the CT scan and its interpretation. If an abnormality is detected on the screening examination, further evaluation and work up of this should be covered by insurance.

How Do I Schedule a Screening CT?
To schedule a low-dose CT examination directly, please call (323) 442-7450. If you are unsure about the risks and benefits of lung screening, or if you wish to speak to an expert in the USC Thoracic Oncology Program, please call (323) 865-3111. For more Information on lung cancer, please click here.


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Thoracic Oncology Program
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
1441 Eastlake Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Phone: (323) 865-3111

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University of Southern California Department of Surgery
Keck School of Medicine of USC
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