Lung Cancer Screening: American Cancer Society guidelines

Lung Cancer Screening: American Cancer Society guidelines and the use of Low-dose Spiral CT Scan.


Research shows that screening with low-dose CT scans can reduce the risk of death from lung cancer for people at high risk of getting the disease. These scans have about five times less radiation than conventional CT scans.

If you’ve smoked for a long time, you should consider getting screened for lung cancer, which is done using a low-dose CT scan.

The type of low-dose CT scan that is recommended for lung cancer screening is a newer form of CT scan known as a low-dose spiral or helical CT scan. The low-dose spiral CT scan continuously rotates in a spiral motion and takes several 3-dimensional X-rays of the lungs. These X-rays are very detailed and can show early-stage lung cancers that may be too small to be detected by a traditional X-ray. Traditional X-rays can identify lung cancers the size of a dime, whereas low-dose spiral CT scans can reveal lung abnormalities the size of a grain of rice. This is a crucial difference– the smaller the tumor is when it is detected; the less likely the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body. This means more treatment options and a higher chance of survival.

One other difference between the low-dose spiral CT scan and traditional X-rays is that spiral CT scans take much less time than a traditional X-ray. A low-dose CT scan takes less than a minute!. We, at Advanced Magnetic Imaging are currently offering this highly diagnostic technology.

We recommend screening if you:

  • are between the ages of 55 and 80
  • smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years


The American Cancer Society (ACS) has a lung cancer screening guideline for people with a higher risk of getting lung cancer. The ACS recommends yearly lung cancer screening with LDCT scans for people who are 55 to 74 years old, are in fairly good health, and who also meet the following conditions:

  • Are current smokers or smokers who have quit in the past 15 years.
  • and
  • Have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history. (This is the number of years you smoked multiplied by the number of packs of cigarettes per day. For example, someone who smoked 2 packs per day for 15 years [2 x 15 = 30] has 30 pack-years of smoking. A person who smoked 1 pack per day for 30 years [1 x 30 = 30] also has 30 pack-years of smoking.)
  • and
  • Receive counseling to quit smoking if they are current smokers.
  • and
  • Have been told by their doctor about the possible benefits, limits, and harms of screening with LDCT scans.
  • and
  • Have a facility where they can go that has experience in lung cancer screening and treatment.

The information in this document does not replace a medical consultation. It is for personal guidance use only. We recommend that patients ask their doctors about what tests or types of treatments are needed for their condition.

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