Screening for lung cancer

Last medical review:

Screening means checking for a disease in a group of people who don't show any symptoms of the disease. Screening tests help find lung cancer before any symptoms develop. When lung cancer is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better.

If you currently smoke tobacco or used to smoke tobacco and you're between 55 and 74 years of age, you should get screened for lung cancer using low-dose CT scan. You should be screened once each year for 3 years or until you're told that you're unlikely to benefit from screening. Screening will unlikely benefit you if you develop other serious health conditions that can make you too frail for lung cancer treatment.

Find out more about lung cancer screening.

Expert review and references

  • Canadian Cancer Society | Société canadienne du cancer
  • Aberle DR, DeMello S, Berg CD, et al . Results of the two incidence screenings in the National Lung Screening Trial. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013.
  • Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care . Recommendations on screening for lung cancer. CMAJ. 2016:
  • de Koning HJ, van der Aalst CM, de Jong PA, et al. Reduced lung-cancer mortality with volume CT screening in a randomized trial. New England Journal of Medicine. 2020: 382:503–513.
  • Kramer BS, Berg CD, Aberle DR, Prorok PC. . Lung cancer screening with low-dose helical CT: results from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). Journal of Medical Screening. RSM Press; 2011.
  • National Cancer Institute. National Lung Screening Trial: Questions and answers. 2014:
  • National Lung Screening Trial Research Team, Aberle DR, Adams AM, et al . Reduced lung-cancer mortality with low-dose computed tomographic screening. New England Journal of Medicine. Massachusetts Medical Society; 2011.
  • Radiological Society of North America. Lung cancer screening. 2013:

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

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