U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Lung Cancer Screening: Questions for the doctor

Lung Cancer Screening: Questions for the doctor

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. Most people who develop lung cancer (more than 8 in 10) get it from smoking. If you currently smoke, the best way to lower your risk of lung cancer is to quit.

Ask your doctor about getting screened (tested) for lung cancer if all of these apply to you:

  • You are age 55 to 80.
  • You have a history of heavy smoking. An example of heavy smoking is smoking 1 pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years – or 2 packs a day for 15 years.
  • You smoke now – or you quit within the last 15 years.

Your doctor may suggest that you get screened once a year with LDCT (low-dose computed tomography). LDCT takes pictures of your lungs, which can help find lung cancer early – when it may be easier to treat.

Thanks to the health care reform law, insurance plans must cover lung cancer screening for adults at high risk for lung cancer. This means you may be able to get screened at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance company to find out more.

What do I ask the doctor?

Visiting the doctor can be stressful. It helps to have questions written down ahead of time. You may also want to ask a family member or close friend to go with you to take notes.

Print out these questions and take them to your appointment.

  • What puts me at risk for lung cancer?
  • Do you recommend that I get screened for lung cancer? Why or why not?
  • If you recommend this screening for me, how often do I need to get it?
  • What will happen when I get screened for lung cancer? How do I prepare?
  • Does the screening exam have any dangers or side effects?
  • How long will it take to get the results?
  • If the results show I might have cancer, will I need more tests to be sure?
  • Can you suggest something to help me quit smoking?
  • What else can I do to lower my risk of lung cancer?

For more information about screening for lung cancer, visit: