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Lung Cancer Screening & Nodule Program

Lung cancer causes more deaths in the United States than any other type of cancer. This is because lung cancer is most often diagnosed in the later stages after the disease has progressed; early stage lung cancer does not show any symptoms.

Consult your doctor about a CT scan

Worried you are at risk for lung cancer?

Call 320-240-7867 to discuss your next steps. 

The results of the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) showed that lung cancer screening for patients who are at high risk can find cancer at an early stage, and help prevent one in five deaths from lung cancer. 

CentraCare Lung Cancer Screening & Nodule Program offers lung cancer screening for individuals at high-risk of lung cancer. The goal of the screening is to detect cancer early, when it is likely more treatable.

As a comprehensive healthcare organization, CentraCare offers expertise in pulmonary medicine, radiology, surgery and oncology. Skilled specialists are available to guide patients through every step of the lung cancer screening including prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment. 

About the Screening

Who should be screened?

To qualify for lung cancer screening, a person must:

  • Be 55 to 74 years old
  • Be a smoker or a person who quit smoking less than 15 years ago
  • Have a smoking history of 30 pack years.
      • One pack year is the same as smoking 20 cigarettes, or one pack, each day for one year.

If a patient does not fit all criteria, but may benefit from the screening due to exposure and/or family history, please consult the Lung Cancer Screening & Nodule Program for further evaluation.

Cost of the screening

Screening is covered by most insurance plans. As each plan varies, please check with your insurance provider for coverage information. Follow-up for any abnormal findings usually is covered by most health plans.

About CT scans

CentraCare lung cancer screening CTs will be completed at CentraCare Health Plaza.

Computed Tomography or CT is a diagnostic procedure where a scanner produces a detailed, computer-generated image of the body.

CT scans show the shape, size and location of organs and tissues for any part of the body. The scans are more sensitive and reliable in finding early lung cancers as compared to routine chest x-rays.

A low-dose CT scan has about 20 percent of the radiation dose of a standard dose CT scan.

What to Expect from the Program

Schedule a screening

Provider Referral

After talking with your primary care provider, ask them to put an order in for a Lung Cancer Screening. After the order is entered, one of our providers will contact you to set up the date and time and give you more instruction.

Self Referral

If your primary care provider does not order the screening, contact us directly at 320-240-7867 to discuss your risk and schedule an appointment.

Lung cancer screening 

The Lung Cancer Screening Program uses low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans to find lung cancer early in current or former smokers, when it is likely more treatable.

  • The CT procedure is painless and quick. No drugs or injections are used.
  • You will lie on a table which slides through the CT scanner. The complete procedure will take about 5 minutes.
  • After your scan, a pulmonologist will review the CT and call you to discuss the results. They will also have time to answer any questions you have.
  • The results and recommendations for follow-up will be sent in the mail and to your primary care provider.

Risks of the screening

  • Screening programs don't always find cancer early enough to be cured.
  • Some people get treated even though the cancer grows so slowly that it won't cause death.
  • Some people get unneeded tests, treatment or both because screening results were unclear or wrong.

There is a small chance of getting cancer from being exposed to radiation. A low-dose CT scan uses more radiation than a regular chest x-ray. However, it uses much less than a regular-dose CT scan. You and your provider will decide if the possibility of finding lung cancer early is worth the risk of having this test.

Talk to your provider about the risks and benefits of screening before getting the test.

Treatment and follow-up

Follow-up and additional testing

Normal results

If the scan is normal, we recommend that high-risk individuals consider annual low-dose CT screenings until the age of 74.

Abnormal results

If a nodule* is detected, closer follow-up or additional testing may be required. The Lung Cancer Screening & Nodule Program team will assist you in setting up any further testing or treatment.

*A lung nodule is a round or oval-shaped mass in the lungs. While lung nodules often can go unnoticed for years, they may need to be watched. The nodules are not usually cancerous and could be the result of old scars or infection. In some cases, nodules can be an early stage cancer and should not be ignored.

Lung Nodule Registry

The Lung Cancer Screening & Nodule Program utilizes a lung nodule registry. The registry helps us to watch nodules. It tracks any changes to the nodules' features (size, shape, etc.). We also use the registry to let our patients and their providers know when it is time for their follow-up CT scan. 

Early Stage Lung Cancer Treatment

If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, CentraCare Health has experts in all areas of lung cancer treatment to ensure that you get the best possible management.

Early stage lung cancer can often be cured with surgical removal. Our surgeons are skilled in the latest techniques for removing lung cancer. Our cancer experts at Coborn Cancer Center offer the most innovative treatments for radiation therapy to target only the cancerous cells. We will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. 

Click the link for more information about Coborn Cancer Center.


Tobacco Treatment Programs

Tobacco smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer. Below are resources to assist you in quitting.

CentraCare Nicotine Dependence Program
320-251-2700 ext. 57448

Minnesota QUITPLAN