Lung Cancer

Frequently Asked Questions: Early Detection Lung Cancer Screenings

Why should I be screened for lung cancer?

Lung cancer is the most common fatal cancer in adults, but it's treatable if caught early. Screening helps to identify lung cancer early, when it's most treatable.

Who is a candidate for a screening?

Lung screenings are designed for people 50 to 80 years old who have smoked on average a pack a day for 20 years, who are currently smoking or who quit less than 15 years ago.

What is the cost? Is it covered by insurance?

Talk to your insurance provider to see if they cover this preventative screening for patients whose risk factors qualify them. Should your insurance not cover this preventative screening, it is offered to qualified patients for $225. The up-front cost could save you from undergoing more costly treatments down the road or even save your life if it catches a problem early.

How do I set up an appointment?

Discuss lung cancer screening with your provider and see if a low-dose CT is right for you. For any additional questions call Riverside's Lung Screening Coordinator at 757-534-LUNG (5864).

What can I expect during my screening appointment?

Patients should come early to fill out paperwork. The screening itself takes just a few seconds. You will be asked to briefly hold your breath to capture the most accurate images. Your results will be sent to your provider for review and released to your MyChart within 24 hours. 

What happens after my lung cancer screening?

If the screen results are negative, we will recommend that you be screened again each year for the next two years and to quit smoking. A positive screening means that you will need additional follow-up or further testing to determine if you have lung cancer or another problem. A specialist will meet with you to discuss the next steps.

Where are lung cancer screenings offered?

Screenings are offered at all Riverside hospitals and outpatient radiology centers in Newport News, Williamsburg, Hampton, Smithfield, Gloucester and Onancock on the Eastern Shore.


  • Riverside Regional Medical Center, 500 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News
  • Riverside Doctors' Hospital Williamsburg, 1500 Commonwealth Ave., Williamsburg
  • Riverside Diagnostic Center-Hampton, located within Riverside Healthcare Center, Suite 1500, 850 Enterprise Parkway, Hampton
  • Riverside Diagnostic Center-Newport News, at the Riverside Diagnostic and Breast Imaging Center, Suite 104, 895 City Center Blvd., Newport News
  • Riverside Diagnostic Center-Williamsburg, located within Riverside Kings Way, Suite 1200, 120 Kings Way, Williamsburg
  • Riverside Diagnostic Center-Smithfield, 202 Gumwood Drive, Smithfield
  • Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, 7519 Hospital Drive, Gloucester
  • Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, 20480 Market St., Onancock

What are the risks of undergoing a lung cancer screening?

The screening exposes patients to a very low amount of radiation. There's also a small chance that the screening may not result in an accurate diagnosis. This means the screening may detect no cancer when cancer is present. It also may detect cancer when no cancer is present.

How is this screening different from the old way of screening?

The CT scanner may detect very small abnormalities that do not show up on regular X-rays until they are much larger and more difficult to treat.

What if I'm diagnosed with lung cancer?

We are here to help. Riverside Health System offers the full array of lung cancer services, from targeted therapy, which uses specialized drugs to block the growth and spread of cancer cells, to chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. A multidisciplinary care team works with you to design a treatment plan. A lung cancer patient navigator is available to walk patients through every step of the process. Learn more about Riverside's lung cancer program and meet the lung cancer team.

Are there resources to help me quit smoking?

Yes. Ask your doctor to suggest ways to quit. You can also visit the resources listed below.