Should You be Screened for Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Often the disease does not show symptoms until it has progressed to advanced stages, when it is difficult to treat and chances of survival decrease.

A low-radiation-dose CT (LDCT) scan can detect lung cancer at its earliest stages, making treatment both easier and more effective—and early detection is the key to beating any cancer. Such screening is only appropriate for people who may be at higher risk for lung cancer due to their history of smoking.

Should You Be Screened?

People with a history of cigarette smoking have a high risk of lung cancer. In fact, tobacco use accounts for almost 90% of all lung cancers. The more cigarettes you smoke per day and the earlier you started smoking, the greater your risk of lung cancer.

Current guidelines* recommend you have a series of lung cancer screenings if you meet the criteria in one of the following categories:

Category 1

  • ☐ You are between 55 and 77 years old, and
  • ☐ Are currently a smoker or have quit within the past 15 years, and
  • ☐ Have smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 30+ years

Category 2

  • ☐ You are between 50 and 77 years old, and
  • ☐ Have smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 20+ years, and
  • ☐ Currently, a smoker, or someone who has quit within the past 15 years, and
  • ☐ Have one of the following additional lung cancer risk factors. Check any that apply.
    • ☐ Exposure to radon, a radioactive gas that can exist in houses
    • ☐ Exposure to asbestos, especially if exposure occurred in the workplace
    • ☐ History of head and/or neck cancer
    • ☐ Exposure to cancer-causing agents in the environment, especially occupational exposure such as arsenic, chromium, nickel, cadmium, beryllium or silica
    • ☐ Lung scarring from certain types of pneumonia or a diagnosis of COPD
    • ☐ A first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, who has had lung cancer

If you checked all boxes in either category, the federal guidelines recommend you have a LDCT screening test, which is offered through the Missouri Baptist Lung Cancer Screening Program.

Designated LCA Screening Center of Excellence

Lung Cancer Alliance Screening Center of Excellence badge

The Missouri Baptist Lung Cancer Screening Program has been named a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). Designated LCA Screening Centers of Excellence are committed to provide clear information based on current evidence on who is a candidate for lung cancer screening, and to comply with comprehensive standards based on best practices developed by professional organizations, such as the American College of Radiology (ACR), the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP) for controlling screening quality, radiation dose and diagnostic procedures within an experienced, multidisciplinary clinical setting.

An LDCT scan of the chest to screen for lung cancer is like a mammography screening for breast cancer. Both can detect cancer in its early stages and save lives. It is estimated that lung cancer deaths can be reduced by 20%, or up to 22,000 lives can be saved by this screening each year. 

Dedicated navigator.

From your first call, you will work with a Nurse Navigator dedicated exclusively to the Missouri Baptist Lung Cancer Screening Program. Your navigator will help you set up your appointments and answer any questions you might have. Contact our Nurse Navigator at 855-399-LUNG (5864).

Screening Locations

The Missouri Baptist Lung Cancer Screening Program schedules screenings at five locations around the St. Louis area:

  1. Missouri Baptist Medical Center – Main Campus in Town & Country
  2. Missouri Baptist Outpatient Center – Sunset Hills
  3. Parkland Health Center – Farmington, Missouri
  4. Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital – Sullivan, Missouri
  5. Memorial Hospital Chester – Chester, Illinois

How is the lung cancer screening performed?

The screening test is performed with a low-radiation-dose CT (LDCT). LDCT scans have a lower radiation dose than a chest X-ray or a standard CT scan. The LDCT scanner rotates around your body, while you lie still on a table that passes through the center of the scanner. The LDCT scan provides detailed images of the inside of your body, including tissues within an organ.

How long does the screening take?

Each exam takes only about five minutes, and we strive to have you in and out in less than an hour.

How much will the screening cost?

The Missouri Baptist Lung Cancer Screening Program is covered by most private insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare patients must have a shared decision-making visit with a medical provider prior to their lung cancer screening test. Check with your provider, or call our Nurse Navigator at 855-399-LUNG (5864), and she can help you. 

How quickly will I receive my results?

We’ll call you with your results on the next business day.

What happens if the test finds an abnormality?

If an abnormality is found, it does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. Small nodules and other abnormalities are found in about 1 in 5 LDCT scans. Most of these do not turn out to be cancer. You may require additional testing (which is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurances). A Missouri Baptist team professional will discuss your next steps with you and answer any questions you may have.

What happens if cancer is found?

If cancer is found, your team will work with you and your primary care physician on a treatment plan. If you don’t have a primary care physician, our Nurse Navigator can help you choose a provider.

Cancer Care at Missouri Baptist

You’ll want the very latest in treatment options, the best trained professionals including a team of top doctors, and the most advanced cancer-fighting technology. The Cancer Center at Missouri Baptist combines these critical components in a location designed by doctors, nurses and cancer patients. That’s because decades of experience have taught us that comfort and compassion are just as important as the science of medicine.

Schedule an Appointment

To set up an appointment for a lung cancer screening test at the Missouri Baptist Lung Cancer Screening Program, or if you have any questions, please call our Nurse Navigator at 855-399-LUNG (5864).

*The Missouri Baptist Lung Cancer Screening Program follows current screening guidelines set by Medicare. Any recommendations to change lung cancer screening guidelines proposed by the American Medical Association, released on March 9, 2021, must first be adopted by Medicare before the Missouri Baptist Screening Program’s guidelines can change.

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