CT Lung Cancer Screening

Get a clear picture of your lung health. It could save your life.

The earlier lung cancer is detected, the greater your chances for long-term health. If you smoke now or you quit smoking in the past 15 years and are between ages 50 and 80, you should be screened for lung cancer. In the earliest stages, there are no symptoms of lung cancer. But in those early stages, we can detect and effectively treat nodules as small as a grain of rice. A low-does CT scan takes less than 30 seconds, and it is painless. We encourage you to make an appointment today.

image of lung

How do I get screened?

Talk with your provider about your risk level and, if you are in the high-risk category described on this page, ask for a referral for a lung cancer screening. If you do not have a physician and are interested in a screening, we can help you. Our goal is to make the screening process as quick and easy for you as possible.

Who should be screened?

You should have a low-dose CT scan lung cancer screening if you:

  • Have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history and
  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years and
  • Are between 50 and 80 years old.

A “pack-year” is any combination of packs of cigarettes and years that equal 20. For example, it could be one pack per day for one year or two packs a day for 10 years.*

*U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

For a lung cancer screening appointment, complete this form today or call (843) 606-7820.

Why is screening important?

Lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan is important for one major reason: It can save your life. For every 1 cm that a stage 1 cancer grows, the five-year survival rate declines by 10 percent. The earlier a nodule is found, the faster we can perform a biopsy to determine whether or not the nodule is cancerous. If it is, we can develop a treatment plan and start your care right away for the best possible health outcome. Patients have a 90 percent chance of survival when lung cancer is found early.

About 150,000 Americans die from lung cancer every year – more than any other type of cancer. Part of the reason it’s so deadly is that it goes undetected for too long and spreads to other parts of the body. The key is to catch it as soon as possible with a low-dose CT lung screening, the only proven way to find lung cancer early.

What happens if a nodule is found?

At Roper St. Francis Healthcare, we now offer a new Ion robot-assisted technology that helps us biopsy lung nodules even earlier and safer than before. Until recently, patients with a nodule were often told to “watch and wait” to see if the nodule grew. A biopsy required open surgery, and many nodules were too small to biopsy or too difficult to reach. Today, thanks to the minimally invasive Ion technology, we can biopsy even the smallest nodules in all 18 sections of the lungs. For many patients, this eliminates the “watch and wait” phase, and allows us to identify cancer at its earliest stages for better results.

The biopsy procedure takes just one hour or less, and patients often return home the same day.

How does Ion technology work?

While the patient is under anesthesia, the physician places a small tube through the mouth and down the throat to the lung to reach the nodule. If the nodule is benign, patient anxiety is relieved immediately. If it is cancerous, effective treatment can begin right away for a significantly improved outcomes.

How to prepare for a screening and what to expect

There is no special preparation required for a low-dose CT lung screening. You may take your daily medications as prescribed. However, please tell your provider if you are or might be pregnant.

The screening will be performed by a radiologic technologist, and a board-certified radiologist will interpret the results.

During the test, you will lie on your back on a table that is attached to the CT scanner. The table will slide into the opening in the scanner while a cylinder rotates around your body. You may hear a low whirling sound, and the table will move slightly during the exam.

You will be asked to hold your breath for about 15 seconds while images are taken. Be sure to hold completely still while your lungs are being scanned to avoid the need for repeat images.

During the test, you will be alone in the scan room, but the technologist will watch you through a window and you will be able to communicate through an intercom.

The scan takes only a few seconds, but please allow 30 minutes for the entire examination.


The results of the test will be sent to your doctor. If a nodule is found, it will also be reviewed by the experts in our Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program. They will make a recommendation to your doctor about any appropriate next steps. Your doctor will contact you to schedule a time to discuss the results and a potential treatment plan, if needed.

We are here to make the screening process simple and painless, so you can get a clear picture of your lung health and breathe easier. Make your appointment today. Complete the form on this page or call (843) 606-7820.

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