FEATURE | Posted Oct. 22, 2013

UC Davis Health System launches lung cancer screening program

Comprehensive screening for those at highest risk for lung cancer

Patient receiving CT scanThe UC Davis Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening program provides low-dose chest computed tomography (CT) technology to detect lung cancer early, when it is most treatable.

Launch of the screening program follows the recently released recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for annual low-dose CT scans to screen individuals at high risk for lung cancer.

lung cancer screenings

Individuals interested in lung cancer screening will need referrals from their primary care providers to the UC Davis Department of Radiology. Referrals can be faxed to 916-703-2254, and screenings can be scheduled by calling 916-734-0655. Lung cancer screening is not currently covered by insurance; the out-of-pocket charge is $375.

The UC Davis program uses a multidisciplinary team of radiologists, thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists, pathologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists to develop a patient-centered plan for leading-edge lung cancer care.

The task force made the recommendations based on the results of the groundbreaking National Lung Screening Trial, which determined that low-dose CT screening reduced the risk of dying from lung cancer in heavy smokers by 20 percent compared to screening with chest X-rays. Data from the trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011.

Two groups of individuals at high risk for lung cancer have been identified by the task force, National Lung Screening Trial and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. The first includes current or former smokers between 55 and 80 years old who have smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day for at least 30 years or, if they are former smokers, should have quit within the previous 15 years. The second group are current or former smokers between 50 and 80 years old who smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day for at least 20 years and have one additional lung cancer risk factor such as a lung cancer history, or family history of the disease, chronic lung disease or carcinogen exposure (excluding second-hand smoke).