To prepare for an LDCT scan, you may need to:
- Inform your doctor if you have a respiratory tract infection. If you currently have signs and symptoms of a respiratory tract infection or if you recently recovered from an infection, your doctor may recommend delaying your screening until one month after your signs and symptoms go away. Respiratory infections can cause abnormalities on CT scans that might require additional scans or tests to investigate. These additional tests can be avoided by waiting for the infection to resolve.
Remove any metal you're wearing. Metals can interfere with the imaging, so you may be asked to remove any metal that you might be wearing, such as jewelry, glasses, hearing aids and dentures.
Wear clothes that don't have metal buttons or snaps. Don't wear an underwire bra. If your clothing has too much metal, you may be asked to change into a gown.
Check with your insurance company
Health insurance companies typically cover lung cancer screening for those who meet the guidelines specified by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. These guidelines recommend annual screening for people with a 30 pack year history beginning at age 55. Check with your health insurance provider to be sure lung cancer screening is covered under your plan.
For people on Medicare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services covers lung cancer screening for people 55 to 77 with a 30 pack year history of smoking who are either current smokers or who have quit smoking in the last 15 years.
Feb. 15, 2017
- AskMayoExpert. Lung cancer screening in at-risk patients. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Moyer VA, et al. Screening for lung cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014;160:330.
- Lung cancer screening. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
- Smith RA, et al. Cancer screening in the United States, 2016: A review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and current issues in cancer screening. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2016;66:95.
- Detterbeck FC, et al. Diagnosis and management of lung cancer, 3rd ed.: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest. 2013;143(suppl):7S.
- Lung cancer screening (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/lung-screening-pdq. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
- Computed tomography (CT) — chest. RadiologyInfo.org. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=chestct. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
- Decision memo for screening for lung cancer with low dose computed tomography (LDCT) (CAG-00439N). Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016.
- Midthun DE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 30, 2015.