The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.

The American Lung Association and American Cancer Society both suggest that if you meet the following criteria, you may want to consider screening:

  • You are a current or former smoker who quit within the last 15 years
  • You are 55-74 years old
  • You have a history of heavy smoking (eg, one pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years)

If you meet these criteria, a low-dose CT scan should be used for screening. A CT scan is a series of x-rays put together by a computer to create images of the lung. This test may be able to identify smaller tumors better than a chest x-ray can.