Lung Cancer Screening Program

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ The Kentucky Lung Cancer Screening Program has three goals:

  1. Increase lung cancer screening;

  2. Reduce morbidity and mortality from lung cancer; and

  3. Reduce the cost of treating lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Kentucky. However, early diagnosis increases the odds of successful treatment. Evidence-based screening among eligible Kentuckians is a safe way to catch lung cancer early.

If you are between the ages of 50 and 80, have a smoking history of 20 pack years and either are a current smoker or have quit in the last 15 years, you may be eligible for low-dose CT lung cancer screening. Talk to your healthcare provider or visit the links to the right for more information.

For more information email the DPH Lung Cancer Screening Program.​​

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is when lung cells change and begin growing uncontrollably in a way that damages the body. The changes can be caused by hazardous chemicals, like tobacco smoke, or more rarely by genetic factors.

Lung cancer is the third most common type of cancer in Kentucky and the leading cause of cancer death.

What Causes Lung Cancer?

Tobacco smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to cause cancer. Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer in Kentucky.

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. For help quitting, go to Quit Now Kentucky.

Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer, even among people who do not smoke. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that is naturally found in soil. It can come up through small gaps and cracks in buildings.

High levels of radon in the home and other buildings should be treated with a radon mitigation system. More information on radon can be found here.

Other risks include hazardous chemicals or particle pollution, including secondhand smoke.

Who Should Get Screened for Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer screening is recommended for people:

Talk to your healthcare professional about the risks and benefits of lung cancer screening.

Screening is usually done with a low-dose computer tomography scan (low-dose CT scan). These scans are quick, and painless and do not involve needles, IVs, or dyes.

What Are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer rarely has symptoms until it has spread, which is why lung cancer screening is so important. The earlier lung cancer is caught, the more easily it can be treated.

If symptoms occur, they can include:

  • Ongoing and worsening cough

  • Hoarseness

  • Chronic chest pain

  • Wheezing

  • Recurring lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia

  • Coughing up blood

If you have any of these symptoms, please see a healthcare professional immediately.

How is Lung Cancer Diagnosed?

If there is a suspicious finding on a low-dose CT scan, your healthcare team may want to do further testing.

This could include doing another diagnostic low-dose CT scan in the future or more intensive testing such as tissue or fluid sampling so cells can be viewed under a microscope for cancer.

Is Lung Cancer Treatable?

Lung cancer is a serious disease but if caught early can be successfully treated. Most people who have their lung cancer caught in the early stages (localized) are alive five years later. This is one reason screening is so important.

Protecting Your Lungs

  • Don't start smoking or quit smoking (link to Quit Now Kentucky)

  • Avoid secondhand smoke exposure

  • Test indoor spaces for radon and install mitigation systems if it is high​​