VCU Medical Center to offer free lung CT scans in November

In observance of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center will offer a limited number of free low-dose CT chest scans to qualifying high-risk patients during November.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women worldwide, killing nearly 160,000 Americans each year. There are more than 94 million current and former smokers in the United States.

Low-dose CT lung screening can save lives by providing early detection. In many patients, symptoms do not appear until the disease has spread and is difficult to treat.

Long-term heavy current or previous smokers who are 50 or older may qualify to receive a free scan from the VCU Department of Radiology. To determine eligibility and to schedule a scan, call (804) 828-3768 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit for more information.

The National Lung Screening Trial, a large National Cancer Institute-sponsored trial, confirmed that screening individuals at high risk for lung cancer with an annual low-dose CT scan of the chest reduced lung cancer deaths by up to 20 percent (New England Journal of Medicine, Aug. 4, 2011). As a result, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends that high-risk individuals undergo annual screening.

Currently, most private insurers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services do not reimburse for low-dose CT lung screening, and most hospitals charge a self-pay for this exam – a $300 value. The scan only exposes patients to a minimal amount of radiation, similar to mammography.