Lung Cancer Screening and Diagnosis

The majority of lung cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage when curative treatment may not be possible. However, the earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the easier it may be to treat. Cadence Health offers low dose screening CT scans to identify lung cancer in high-risk patients.

Screening tests are used to identify cancer before any symptoms develop. The earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the easier it may be treat and possibly cure. Until recently, there was no screening test for lung cancer. The United States Preventative Services Task Force now recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography in adults aged 55 to 80 years for high risk individuals. A research study called the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial recently showed a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths when a low dose CT scan was used instead of a chest X-ray to screen for lung cancer in people at high risk. This study found that annual screening for lung cancer is beneficial for those at high risk for developing lung cancer. To learn more about lung cancer screening, please call the nurse navigator at 630.933.5600. TTY for the hearing impaired 630.933.4833.

Cadence Health Cancer Video
Watch a Video: Lung Cancer Treatment at Cadence Health The Cadence Health lung cancer team provides a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, giving patients access to a team of thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists with special expertise in lung cancer treatment. Cadence Health is affiliated with Cleveland Clinic in medical oncology, bringing you the research and expertise from one of the nation's top ten cancer programs as ranked by U.S.News & World Report. Our robust program includes lung cancer screenings, smoking cessation resources and supportive services.

Are You At High Risk For Lung Cancer?

You might be considered high-risk for lung cancer if you:

  • Are age 55-80 with no history of lung cancer
  • Former smoker (those who quit within the last 15 years)
  • A current smoker with at least a “30 pack-year” history of smoking
  • 1 pack per day x 30 years = “30 pack years”
  • 2 packs per day x15 years = “30 pack years”

How Can I Get Screened For Lung Cancer?

Cadence Health offers low dose lung CT scans at both CDH and Delnor Hospital. Before having a scan, you will need to talk with your doctor who will determine your eligibility. Your doctor will provide you with information, including potential risks and benefits of low dose CT lung screening.

Risks vs. Benefits

As with any screening, you need to weigh the risks and benefits with your doctor. These include:

Potential Risks
  • False-positive – which is a test finding that falsely indicates that a scan shows something that is concerning for cancer. After further evaluation, it is determined that you do not have cancer. False positive findings can be very upsetting, since you believe that you have a diagnosis of cancer when in fact, you do not.
  • False-negative – which is a scan that indicates you do not have a suspicious finding on your scan. It is only later that your cancer is diagnosed, leading not only to a delayed diagnosis, but also treatment.
  • Radiation exposure – the lung scan delivers a lower dose of radiation compared to a regular CT scan. The dosage of radiation exposure is similar to a cross-country airline flight.
  • Early detection – lung cancer can be detected at a more treatable and possibly curable stage

Scheduling A Low Dose CT Scan

The cost of the screening CT scan is $150 and is currently not covered by insurance. Once your doctor completes the order, the test is scheduled through Centralized Scheduling at Cadence Health and performed at either CDH or Delnor. No advance preparation is required for the scan. No intravenous contrast is required. The scan itself is very short. You can remain in your street clothing.

What Happens After?

Your screening will be reviewed by a radiologist* on the medical staff of CDH or Delnor Hospital. Your results will be sent to you via mail. Your referring doctor will be provided a full explanation of results and recommendations for follow up. Many lung nodules or abnormalities found on CT scans are NOT lung cancer; however additional follow up tests or repeat low dose CT scans at a periodic interval may be recommended.

Prevention is Key

The most important step in preventing lung cancer is to stop smoking. Smoking is responsible for 85% of lung cancers. If you still smoke, your doctor can provide guidance and assistance for smoking cessation resources.

Lung Cancer Treatments

Lung cancer treatment at Cadence Health takes into account many factors - your overall health, stage of lung cancer at diagnosis and your ability to tolerate therapy.

Treatment options may include:


Drugs are administered, either intravenously or orally, to interfere with the cancer cell’s ability to reproduce. Your experienced medical oncologist will determine the best combination of medications for your stage of cancer. If appropriate, the medical oncologists at Cadence Health may consult directly with the team at Cleveland Clinic to discuss your treatment options.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted cancer therapies are drugs or other substances that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor growth and progression. Your doctor can target a specific characteristic of a cancer cell. If certain cells are present, your doctor may choose a specific form of chemotherapy.


There are several types of lung surgery. Talk to your doctor about the best choice, based on the size and location of your cancer, its stage and involvement of lymph nodes.

  • Segmental or wedge resection (removal of only a small part of the lung)
  • Lobectomy (removal of an entire lobe of the lung)
  • Pneumonectomy (removal of the entire lung)
  • Minimally invasive surgery

The da Vinci® Surgical System is a robotic-assisted minimally invasive approach that allows your doctor to make smaller incisions for less blood loss, fewer complications and faster recovery.

Radiation Therapy

Your radiation oncologist may use high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. There are two types:

  • External radiation therapy — Using external beams of radiation directly to cancer cells
  • Proton therapy — One of the most precise forms of radiation therapy, proton treatment can be precisely controlled so most of the radiation ends up directly in the tumor. Cadence Health is the first and only health system in Illinois and the ninth in the country to offer proton therapy.

Palliative Medicine

Side effects from cancer treatment can impact your quality of life and your body’s ability to respond to treatment. Cadence Health is home to a diverse team of palliative medicine specialists who work with your oncologist to help relieve your pain and manage your symptoms.

Cadence Health palliative medicine specialists:

  • Treat pain and other physical symptoms of cancer, such as fatigue, nausea, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, breathing difficulties, and weight loss
  • Treat emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety
  • Improve your body’s ability to tolerate cancer treatments
  • Help you better understand tests, procedures, and options
  • Guide you and those who care for you to helpful outside resources

From your initial diagnosis throughout your care, the palliative medicine team at Cadence Health can help you remain stronger in your fight against cancer and feel better, every step of the way.

From your initial diagnosis throughout your care, the palliative medicine team at Cadence Health can help you remain stronger in your fight against cancer and feel better, every step of the way.

Clinical Trials

You can participate in clinical trials, which focus on treatment options for lung cancer.

Clinical Trials

Find out if there’s a clinical trial for your type of lung cancer currently in progress through Cadence Health. Your doctor can tell you if you are eligible. See the Cadence Health cancer clinical trials list.

Learn more about the benefits and guidelines for participating in a clinical trial from the National Cancer Institute*.

Know what questions to ask* when evaluating a clinical study at*, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

*By clicking on these websites, you are leaving the Cadence Health website. These websites are independent resources. Cadence Health does not operate or control the content of these websites.

Excellence in Lung Cancer Screening

Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) and Delnor Hospital have been designated as Centers of Screening Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance. This means that the lung screening program has been developed using research-based evidence and best practices.

Center of Excellence for Lung Cancer Screening.

Support Services for Lung Cancer

If you are facing a diagnosis of lung cancer, the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center can be a vital component of your treatment and recovery. LivingWell serves as a gathering place providing comfort and community to anyone experiencing the effects of cancer. The LivingWell staff works to ensure that you and your family feel well informed, more hopeful and empowered to take on the challenge of facing cancer.

LivingWell services include more than 60 free-of-charge programs including educational classes, support and networking groups, exercise classes, counseling, nutrition classes, and stress reduction classes. For more information or a schedule of events, contact the staff at or 630.262.1111.

The American Cancer Society’s Wig Boutique at LivingWell lets you select a brand new wig, hat and scarf at no cost while you are undergoing cancer treatment. An experienced American Cancer Society volunteer will help you select and fit the right wig.

living well cancer resource center treatment recovery cancer.