Meet Mark, CT Lung Cancer Screening patient

Mark smoked for 10 years and struggles with high cholesterol. He decided to have doctors take a closer look at his heart through a Coronary CTA. Charlotte Radiology's doctors saw an area of suspicion on his lung. A CT Lung Cancer Screening was ordered to take a closer look. Lucky for Mark, nothing serious is wrong.

Calculate Your Lung Cancer Risk

For more information or to make an appointment call 704-442-4390

Lung cancer accounts for 1 of every 3 cancer deaths, leading the way for cancer deaths in all ethnic groups. It is the second-most diagnosed cancer in men and women.  About 87% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking, however, 60% of lung cancer patients have never smoked or are former smokers who quit decades ago, according to the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). While there are many environmental factors, like exposure to radon gas and asbestos, that can increase your risk of lung cancer, smoking and exposure to second hand smoke pose the greatest risks. In fact the Centers for Disease Control suggest that people exposed to second hand smoke have a 20-30% greater chance of developing lung cancer later in life.


Startling as the facts may be, only 16% of lung cancers are diagnosed at their earliest, most curable stages. However, if caught early, patients can increase their treatment options, outcome and survival rate.


Recent efforts from the National Cancer Institute aim to change survival rates. Their eight year trial, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), of 53,000 smokers and ex-smokers has shown that using CT for screening of lung cancer instead of a chest X-ray has reduced cancer deaths from lung cancer by 20% over just five years.

CT Lung Cancer Screening is a Helical CT scan which evaluates your lungs for any signs of lung cancer. This screening tool is intended for individuals considered to be at high risk for developing lung cancer. The advanced CT scan provides a rapid examination of your lungs and is designed to detect small nodules (possible cancers) that may be present but not yet visible on a standard chest x-ray. Recent research suggests that detection of these nodules at a very small size may dramatically improve likelihood of survival of lung cancer.

For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit

» Meet our Team of Body Imaging Radiologists.

CT Lung Cancer Screening is suggested for former or current smokers ages 55 - 77 with a 30 pack-year smoking history. Former smokers must have quit within the past 15 years. Pack-year history is calculated by multiplying the number of years smoking by the number of packs per day. Using this formula, a person who smoked 1 pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years has smoked for 30 pack-years. Likewise, someone who smoked 2 packs per day for 15 years also smoked for 30 pack-years.

If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for CT Lung Cancer Screening, you can use the Lung Cancer Risk Calculator at

If your scan is normal, you may wish to obtain a repeat study in one year.

If the radiologist detects a pulmonary nodule that raises concern, you may be asked to return for a diagnostic CT test. Frequently, nodules detected on the screening exam are subsequently revealed to be benign granulomas or scars on the diagnostic study.

Therefore, an initially positive screening test does not mean you have lung cancer. Additional charges for the diagnostic scan, and for any additional tests that may be needed will usually be covered by insurance. In some cases, a small nodule may be detected which is not considered suspicious, and you may be asked to return for periodic rechecking of the nodule to be sure it is benign (not cancerous).

Typically your referring physician will schedule an appointment for you. If you have been asked to schedule the appointment yourself, please call 704-442-4390.

Recently, insurance providers have started to cover CT Lung Cancer Screening at varying levels. Since insurance results can differ based on the plan, please call our Imaging Valet line (704-442-4390) so that we can help you based on your personal insurance coverage. If your insurance provider does not cover the screening or if you do not have insurance, you will be billed for $250 (our self-pay rate).