Lung Cancer Screening

Lung Cancer is a dangerous disease, accounting for more cancer deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer combined.  Every year, more than 228,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer.

While the current five-year survival rate for lung cancer is only 15 percent, a lung cancer screening test can decrease the chance of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent in patients who are considered high-risk for developing lung cancer.  


What is Lung Cancer Screening and how does it work at Boone Hospital and the Stewart Cancer Center?
A Lung Cancer Screening Exam is a low-dose computed tomography (CT) exam of the chest. A CT exam is a study that takes X-rays of the chest from multiple angles and allows detection of lung nodule at small as 1 or 2 millimeters.

As a screening exam, the study is designed to look at those people at highest risk of developing lung cancer with the goal being to detect disease early.  Earlier detection of a cancer means improved survival from cancer.

The patients who qualify as high-risk for lung cancer will receive a low-dose CT at Boone Hospital.  The results will be available within a business day.  We will contact your doctor and you with results.  We will also assist you and your doctor with scheduling any follow up examinations.

Thanks to the Boone Hospital Foundation, Boone Hospital's Stewart Cancer Center is offering the examination free of charge to those patients who qualify as high-risk.  

Risk factors for developing lung cancer

  • Smoking
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Exposure to substances known to cause cancer
  • Exposure to radon
  • Exposure to asbestos 
  • Military exposure to Agent Orange
  • Having diseases such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or pneumonia

Do I qualify for the exam as a high-risk patient? 
The guidelines we use at Boone have been established by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). There are two basic criteria used to determine if someone is at higher risk for developing lung cancer. If either of these criteria apply to you, you are at higher risk for developing lung cancer and should have a screening.

Criteria one
  • Age 55-74 and
  • Greater than or equal to a 30 pack-year history of smoking* and
  • Having quit smoking less than 15 years ago
Criteria two
  • Age greater than 50 and
  • Greater than or equal to a 20 pack-year history of smoking* and
  • One additional risk factor (see above risk factor list)
*How to Calculate Your Pack-Year History of Smoking:  Take the number of years you have smoked times the number of packs per day.  For example, if you have smoked two packs per day for 15 years, then your pack-year history would be 30.  

If you meet the above criteria, please contact your primary care physician to set up a screening CT exam.  You can also contact Boone Hospital Center directly at 573.815.2888 to learn more about the exam and schedule the study.  

Potential drawbacks
  • The screening uses a very small dose of radiation, which has unknown side effects.
  • Lung cancer screenings are very effective at detecting spots on the lungs. However, only a small percentage of these spots turn out to be cancerous. It requires further testing to determine if the spots are indeed cancer.
Quit smoking now
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to quit smoking. The resources below can help.
  • Register and attend in-person classes with the Columbia/Boone County Health Department: Call 573.874.7356 and ask to speak with the Smoking Cessation Coordinator. Classes are FREE.
  • Online classes are also available via the BJC Help for Your Health website: Go to and click on Prevention and then Tobacco Cessation.
  • The American Lung Association: Go to and click on Stop Smoking, then How to Quit, then Freedom From Smoking.
  • The Missouri Tobacco Quit Line: 1 800 QUIT NOW (1.800.784.8669)
  • For additional questions: Call WELLAWARE at 573.815.3263

If you would like to learn more about Lung Cancer and Lung Cancer Screening
Visit the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) website which provides additional information.

I would like to have a lung cancer screening.

More information is available by calling 573.815.2888

The Stewart Cancer Center has been named a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) for its ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening. Low dose CT screening for lung cancer carried out safely, efficiently and equitably saves tens of thousands of lives a year.

I would like a
lung cancer screening

For more information
on our lung screens: