Lung Cancer Screening Program

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Identifying lung cancer before symptoms begin

The Lung Cancer Screening Program is a collaborative effort by Princeton Radiology and Princeton Medical Center (PMC).

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, killing more people annually than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. A study by the National Cancer Institute has determined that low-dose radiation CT scans are better than traditional chest X-rays for detecting lung tumors.

Scans like those offered at Princeton Medical Center (PMC) can identify lung cancer nodules in high-risk individuals before symptoms begin and can help to save lives. Usually the earlier lung tumors can be found, the easier they are to treat successfully.

Are You at Risk?

Based on the results from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) and the American Cancer Society screening guidelines, lung cancer screening is recommended for people who:

  • Are current or former smokers.
  • Are aged 55-74.
  • Have a smoking history of 30 or more pack years (1 pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years).
  • Do not have a history of lung cancer.

If you think you are a candidate for a CT scan to screen for lung cancer based on the criteria above, please talk with your doctor about the potential benefit of CT screening for your particular circumstance.

Next Steps

If you meet the screening program criteria above, ask your primary care physician to write an order for you to get a lung screening. The next step is to call PMC’s Central Scheduling Department at 609.853.7070. A screening questionnaire will be completed over the phone to confirm that you meet the screening program criteria above. Once eligibility is confirmed, you will be scheduled to receive a screening through this program. 

What to Expect During the Exam

The technologist begins by positioning you on the CT examination table, usually lying flat on your back. Pillows may be used to help you maintain the correct position and to help you remain still during the exam. The table will move slowly through the CT machine as the actual scanning is performed. You will be asked to hold your breath during the scanning. When the examination is completed, you will be asked to wait until the technologist verifies that the images are accurate. The actual CT scanning takes less than 10 seconds, but the entire appointment process is usually completed within one hour.

Your Results

This program uses the recommendations from the NLST for follow-up care. Our board certified radiologists will review your results. Many screening scans detect nodules that turn out to be benign, however, to rule out cancer, further evaluation is necessary. Sometimes this evaluation may require more frequent low-dose CT scans, or a different test may be done.

After your low-dose CT scan, the results will be sent to your primary care physician and/or the physician who ordered the test. Our Nurse Navigator will work with your physician to ensure that appropriate follow-up care is received if it is necessary.

Smoking Cessation

We continue to encourage everyone who smokes to quit. Quitting smoking is the best defense against lung cancer.

We recommend the following resources to help you:

  • Penn Stop: Penn’s Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program. Call us today at 888.PENN.STOP (1.888.736.6786) to learn more about our Smoking Treatment Clinic and our community Quit Smoking Comfortably Programs.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
  • Tobacco-Free for a Healthy N.J.
  • Pennsylvania’s Free Quitline
  • American Lung Association
    • Lung Helpline: whether you’re looking to start a quit smoking attempt, want to learn more about Freedom From Smoking Plus, Group Clinics or The Guide to Help You Quit Smoking, or want telephone counseling from an expert over the course of your journey to quit smoking call 1.800.LUNGUSA or visit


Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center
Medical Arts Pavilion
Outpatient Imaging Center
Five Plainsboro Road
Plainsboro, NJ 08536


To schedule an appointment, please call 609.853.7070. For more information please contact our Nurse Navigator at 609.853.6790.