Lung Cancer Screening Program

At Roswell Park, more than 70 percent of patients who are diagnosed with lung cancer at an early stage (Stage I) survive five years. Our Lung Cancer Screening Program is designed to detect lung cancer early — when it is most curable — by screening and monitoring (“surveillance”) the people most likely to develop the disease, especially smokers.

Check your risk level online

A quick call to 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) will determine whether you should be screened. An information specialist will ask you a few questions about your health and smoking history. Primary care physicians can also refer patients to Roswell Park for risk assessment and screening.

What are Pack/Years?

_____ number of packs you smoke a day X  _______ number of years you smoked = ______ Pack/Years

In January 2015, RPCI hosted a Lung Cancer Screening video chat. Watch the entire discussion featuring Mary Reid, MSPH, PhD; Samjot Singh Dhillon, MD; and Pamela Germain, MBA.

Lung Cancer Screening Program: The Details

The Screening Program involves:

  • a focused medical history
  • physical examination 
  • one or both of two important tests — Low-Dose Chest CT scan (LDCT) and/or Autofluorescent Bronchoscopy

Low-Dose Chest CT (LDCT)

This special scan can locate small cancers at the peripheral areas or edges of the lung that may elude detection by traditional X-ray or bronchoscope. With LDCT, the X-ray machine rotates around the patient, taking multiple images, which a computer reconstructs into a three-dimensional picture of the lungs. LDCT is quick and takes about 10 seconds to obtain a detailed picture of the lungs and the radiation dose is similar to a single chest x-ray.

You will receive a LDCT scan if you:

  • are age 55 to 77
  • smoked at least 30 Pack/Years
  • smoked within the last 15 years

Other risk factors will be considered when deciding if additional testing, such as bronchoscopy, is needed. These additional risk factors include:

  • Asbestos-related lung disease or pulmonary asbestosis
  • History of emphysema
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Family history of lung cancer (parent, sibling or child)

Roswell Park is one of the few places in the world to offer autofluorescence bronchoscopy for select high-risk lung cancer patients. Dr. Dhillon discusses the benefits of this technology.

Autofluorescent Bronchoscopy

This imaging system uses autofluorescence and white light to see down the trachea and into the lungs' central airways. The system has been shown to actually double the physician’s ability to see a tiny surface cancer in the airway. 

What’s Next?

If your LDCT and/or bronchoscopy tests are normal, you will be scheduled to repeat the tests in one to three years depending on your risk factors. We can help enroll you in smoking cessation programs and other cancer prevention initiatives.

Whether your screening shows small abnormal lesions or advanced cancer, the lung cancer specialists at RPCI are here for you. We will arrange for any follow-up testing, biopsy or evaluation by the multidisciplinary treatment care team.

In addition, you may be eligible to participate in clinical research studies that focus on preventing lung cancer in people with early lung lesions. 

We recommend talking with your doctor about your own risk factors and the possible benefits and harms of being screened for lung cancer. Like many other medical decisions, the decision to be screened is a personal one. Your decision may be easier after learning the pros and cons of screening.

Think You May be at High Risk?

Fill out our high risk assessment form or call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) to determine your eligibility for screening.