Your Guide to Lung Cancer Screening

The MSK Promise

When having a lung cancer screening at Memorial Sloan Kettering, you will meet with a specialist on the thoracic (lung) team, have a low dose CT scan, and be offered participation in a smoking cessation program, educational information, and the opportunity to get involved in research.

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Meet Our Experts

  • Bernard Park, MD
    Deputy Chief of Clinical Affairs, Thoracic Service
  • Michelle Ginsberg, MD
    Vice Chair for Education, Department of Radiology
  • Jamie Ostroff, PhD
    Chief, Behavioral Sciences Service; Director, Tobacco Treatment Program
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Getting Screened is Easy!

Lung cancer is the number-one cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Each year, lung cancer is responsible for more deaths than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined.

By the time we diagnose most people with lung cancer, the disease is in an advanced stage. It cannot be removed through surgery and is difficult to cure. Because of this, researchers and members of the American Cancer Society, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology came together to evaluate years of data about lung cancer screening.

Research shows that screening with a low-dose CT scan can reduce the risk of death from lung cancer for people at a high risk of getting the disease. At MSK, we work to ensure that we are delivering the lowest CT radiation dose possible while still getting highly accurate scans. This type of screening can sometimes detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment may be more effective.

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Clear the Air

It’s never too late to quit! No matter your smoking history, quitting today will help reduce your risk for smoking-related diseases. We know it can be difficult to quit and stay quit, but you can do it with the right guidance and support. We can help.

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Tobacco Treatment Program At MSK

At MSK, we have experts who can help you quit smoking. Our program is open to all individuals who smoke and other tobacco users, people who have never had cancer or a tobacco-related disease, those diagnosed with cancer, and cancer survivors, regardless of your readiness to quit. We can help you safely and effectively cut down your smoking in preparation for quitting.

We offer treatment in formats that are the most convenient and comfortable for you:

  • telephone
  • in-person
  • group
  • telehealth (videoconference)

At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we follow the screening guidelines of the US Preventive Services Task Force. We want to ensure that only the people who’ll benefit most from lung screenings get them. Currently, the eligibility guidelines for lung screenings include people who meet all three of these criteria:

  • between the ages of 50 and 80
  • have smoked an average of one pack a day for at least 20 years or the equivalent (for example 2 packs for 10 years)
  • an individual who smokes or quit within the past 15 years

If you would like to schedule a screening visit, call 646-497-9163.

If you have any other concerns about your lung health, we encourage you to discuss them with your primary care doctor.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a low-dose CT?

It is a test that uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of the inside of the body. During the test, you will lie on your back on a table that is attached to an X-rays pass machine. The CT scanner is a large doughnut-shaped machine that is open on both ends so that your head and the lower part of your body are not in the machine. X-rays through the body area being studied (for this screening, the chest and lung areas). A computer saves all the pictures the machine takes so that a doctor can review them.

I already spoke with my doctor about lung screening. Do I still need to meet with someone at MSK before having a low-dose CT?

At MSK, we are responsible for reviewing if a lung screening is right for you, and going over the benefits and risks of screening. So to become part of our screening program, you first need to meet with a thoracic specialist. After that, you will have a low-dose CT scan, and we will follow up with your results in one business day.

I’m experiencing symptoms. Can I still meet with an MSK clinician for a lung cancer screening?

We suggest you talk to a healthcare provider about those signs. We want to be sure they are reviewed right away, and by the right kind of provider. While we may consider chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, or coughing up phlegm, mucus, or blood to be possible symptoms of lung cancer, they could also be due to an infection, seasonal allergies, or another illness that isn’t cancer. If you have questions about your symptoms, call 646-497-9163 to discuss them with a dedicated care adviser.

I’m under age 50 but concerned about my lung health. Can I come in for a screening anyway?

Even though you may not meet the US Preventive Services Task Force’s guidelines for a lung screening, we understand your concerns. You can contact our project coordinator at 646-668-0254 to discuss your options.

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Questions? Contact Us!

Schedule a screening:

Visit us online:

For any additional questions or concerns, call the project coordinator for lung cancer screening at 646-668-0254.

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