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Screening for other cancers – Lung Cancer Screening Pilot for People at High Risk

In Ontario, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death. The reason so many people die of lung cancer is that by the time it causes symptoms, the cancer has usually spread to other parts of the body or is too big for treatment to work. There is now a test, called a “low-dose CT scan”, that can find lung cancer early, when it may be smaller and easier to treat.

In June, 2017, people who are at high risk of getting lung cancer will be able to be screened in a few hospitals across Ontario. This is a pilot, that will help plan for a possible province-wide lung cancer screening program.

The following hospitals in Ontario will have screening locations:

  • The Ottawa Hospital and Renfrew Victoria Hospital - 1-844-394-1124
  • Health Sciences North in Sudbury - 1-844-703-0164
  • Lakeridge Health in Oshawa – 1-855-721-4812

I live near one of the pilot hospitals. How do I find out if I qualify for lung cancer screening?

You may qualify for screening if you:

  • are 55 to 74 years old, and
  • have smoked cigarettes daily (current or past smokers) for at least 20 years in total

To find out if you qualify, talk to your healthcare provider or call the lung cancer screening hospital closest to you.

How do I know if lung cancer screening is right for me?

You should only be screened with a low-dose CT scan if you are at high risk of getting lung cancer from smoking cigarettes heavily for many years and you qualify for the Lung Cancer Screening Pilot for People at High Risk. Screening may have more risks than benefits for those who are not at high risk of getting lung cancer. If you have any possible symptoms of lung cancer, speak with your healthcare provider as soon as possible as screening may not be right for you.

Getting screened with a low-dose CT scan is the best way to find lung cancer early. When cancer is found early, it is usually smaller and treatment has a better chance of working.

Screening tests are not perfect and can have risks. At your screening appointment, you will get information about the risks and benefits of screening to help you decide whether you want to have a low-dose CT scan.

I live far away from a pilot hospital. Is there anything else I can do to lessen my lung cancer risk?

Quitting smoking is the best way to lower your chance of getting lung cancer and other diseases. If you stop smoking, you will greatly lower your chance of getting many diseases and dying early.

Quitting can be hard, but it is possible and you are more likely to succeed if you get help. You can contact Smokers’ Helpline for support at any time.

Last modified: Wed, Jun 28, 2017
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