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MUSC Health Blog

Keyword: lung-cancer

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death for both men and women. If you are between the ages of 55-77 and have a 30 pack-year* history of smoking – even if you’ve quit – don’t take a chance. Safe, low-dose spiral CT (LDCT) scans have proven to reduce lung cancer deaths by twenty percent. Early detection can add years to your life and improve the quality of life for you and your loved ones.

Is Lung Cancer Screening Right for Me?

If you have all of these risk factors, you should consider being screened:

• 55–77 years old and

• * 30 pack-year history of smoking (this means 1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.) and

• Are a current smoker, or have quit within the last 15 years

Not everyone who meets the initial criteria will be eligible for screening. Our team will help guide you as to whether screening can benefit you or not.

Does Lung Cancer Screening Make a Difference?

The National Lung Screening Trial has shown that screening current or former heavy smokers with LDCT decreases their risk of dying from lung cancer. During the research study, 53,454 current and former smokers were randomly assigned to be screened once a year for 3 years with low-dose CT or chest X-ray.

Based on the research, if a group of 1000 people were screened once a year for 3 years, 3 fewer people in 1000 would die of lung cancer after 6 years. This means that, instead of 21 people, 18 people per 1000 would die of lung cancer.

Scheduling an Appointment

Your doctor may refer you for lung cancer screening, or you may refer yourself by calling 843-792-1178.

The MUSC Health Lung Cancer Screening Coordinator will walk you through the evaluation process, which includes smoking cessation counseling if you are still smoking. We may also be able to direct you to clinical trials that are appropriate for your concerns or your condition.

Screening Cost

Talk with the Lung Cancer Screening Coordinator about potential costs for lung cancer screening. Medicare and most private insurance plans offer coverage for those who qualify.


You can choose from three different MUSC Health locations for your LDCT scan and clinical consultation:

Downtown Charleston
Rutledge Tower
135 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 128, Charleston, SC 29425

Mount Pleasant
East Cooper Medical Pavilion
1600 Midtown Avenue, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

North Charleston
North Charleston Medical Pavilion
8992 University Boulevard, North Charleston, SC 29406

Smoking Cessation

Regardless of your decision about screening, avoiding cigarettes is the most important thing you can do to lower your chance of dying from a variety of diseases, not just lung cancer. Quitting smoking helps with emphysema and heart and vascular diseases as well.

If you are still smoking and need help quitting, talk with your MUSC Health care team, call our MUSC Tobacco Treatment Program at 843-792-9101, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

smokingcessationWe all know that smoking is bad for us, but making the decision to quit - and sticking with a plan - is a very personal journey and one that often comes with pitfalls and setbacks. The good news is that there are more resources available than ever before - support groups, chat lines and social media outlets are great ways to start the process. Why not make this November 20th the first step in making a change and getting healthy?  

Here are some resources to help you along the way:  

MUSC Tobacco Treatment Program
MUSC is a national leader in tobacco research and smoking cessation programs. Our team is working to provide better education and cessation resources for all of South Carolina.

American Cancer Society - Quit for Life Program
This Facebook page acts as on online support group for those on the road to being smoke-free.   

Helping a Smoker Quit: Do's and Don'ts
If you have a friend or family member who's trying to quit smoking, try and understand how hard it is. These tips can help you draw the line between being helpful and being pushy.   

South Carolina Tobacco-Free Collaborative
Formed in 2001, the TFC is a group of leading health organizations, community coalitions, and businesses in South Carolina who are committed to reducing the toll of tobacco use in our state. Their goal is to reduce that toll.   

Sign up to receive encouraging text message reminders and tips

Quit Smoking Apps
There are several apps to choose from, many offering daily reminders and motivators, cost savings calculators and a running count of your smoke-free days.  Exactly how you start your journey to being smoke-free isn't as important as making the decision to start the process.

Remember - talk to your doctor, make a plan and reach out to others for support.


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