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Lung Screening Clinic

About the Lung Screening Clinic at UCLA

Thoracic Surgery:

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
200 Medical Plaza, Suite 120
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Phone: (310) 794-7333
Fax: (310) 794-7335

Pulmonary Medicine:

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
200 UCLA Medical Plaza Way,
Suite 365B, Los Angeles, CA, 90095
Phone: (310) 825-8061
Fax: (310) 794-9718

Pulmonary Medicine:

Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center
1223 16th Street, Suite 3400
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-0939
Fax: (424) 259-7790

What is the Lung Screening Clinic?

Lung Screening UCLAThe Lung Cancer Screening Clinic is composed of lung cancer experts from a multidisciplinary team - Pulmonary Medicine, Thoracic Radiology, and Thoracic Surgery. 

The clinic is committed to providing excellent care in screening high risk patients for lung cancer, surveillance of lung nodules or spots, prompt initiation of procedures or studies for expeditious diagnosis when appropriate, and research in prevention and early detection of lung cancer.  The clinic is an integral part of the UCLA Lung Cancer Program.

Since the advent of high-resolution, low dose chest CT scans, we are able to detect lung cancer earlier and find small lung nodules. The Clinic offers a sophisticated program to monitor lung nodules with regular follow-up and high quality imaging with low radiation exposure.

  Screening Info Handout (PDF)
  Screening Handout (PDF)

Lung cancer screening is not a substitute for quitting smoking.  The most effective way to lower lung cancer risk is smoking cessation.  UCLA offers the Freedom From Smoking Program. Smoking Cessation Programs »

Why does UCLA offer a Lung Screening Clinic?

Early detection of lung cancer will initiate prompt treatment and improve your survival. Lung cancer has a poor prognosis when it is detected in advanced stages and is more difficult to treat. It is the deadliest cancer in both men and women. More people die from lung cancer than prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer combined.

  • Over 160,000 people die from lung cancer in the U.S. each year
  • Over 13,000 of these deaths occur in California
  • There are over 200,000 new cases of lung cancer per year in the U.S.
  • Nearly 18,000 of these new cases are in California.
  • Five-year survival rate for all lung cancers combined is 16%.
  • Tobacco use is the cause for 1 in 5 deaths

Who is a candidate for the Lung Screening Clinic?

High risk patients for lung cancer*

  • Age 55 to 74 years with
  • Heavy smoking history equivalent to 1 pack a day for 30 years (or 2 packs a day for 15 years), and
  • Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years
  Print Clinic Brochure (PDF)
  Print Clinic Brochure (PDF)

*High risk patients will be followed with a screening chest CT scan that is one-half to one-fifth the radiation exposure used for typical CT procedures.

Patients with lung nodule or spot found on chest x-ray or CT scan
Other risk factors for lung cancer^

  • Exposure to radon or asbestos
  • Previous history of lung cancer
  • Other smoking related malignancies (ex. Head and neck cancer)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Prior radiation therapy to chest
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Less than 30 pack year smoking history

^Based on the current evidence, it is unclear if screening CT scans will be beneficial to patients with these other risk factors. 

What is the evidence for screening?

The recommendations for lung cancer screening are based on a several studies that carefully evaluated low-dose CT scanning to look for lung cancer in high risk patients.  The most significant study was the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST).  UCLA was a major contributor for the study. 

  NLST Trial Results (PDF)
  NLST Trial Results (PDF)

There were more than 50,000 people enrolled aged 55 to 74 who were current or previous heavy smokers (equivalent to smoking 1 pack a day for 30 years).  The NLST showed that people who underwent low-dose CT scanning had a 20% lower chance of dying from lung cancer than those who received chest x-rays alone.


What are the benefits of the Lung Screening Clinic?

  • Surveillance of high risk patients to detect lung cancer early
  • Detecting a lung cancer earlier may be easier to treat
  • Lung cancer symptoms often don’t appear until the cancer is usually advanced
  • Comprehensive evaluation and regular follow-up by a lung cancer expert
  • Expert interpretation of CT scans by dedicated thoracic radiologists
  • Quick access for patients to receive care at UCLA
  • Efficient communication with patients and referring physicians
  • Organized imaging program to follow patients with lung nodules or spots
  • Reduce anxiety by regular monitoring of lung lesions / nodules

What are the risks of screening for lung cancer?

  • CT scanning may find abnormalities that turn out not to be cancer but still need to be assessed to be sure
  • These findings may need more scans or even invasive studies like needle biopsy, bronchoscopy, or even surgery in some people
  • Risk of increased exposure to radiation
CT Scans FDA (PDF) CT Full-Body Scans FDA (PDF)
CT Scans FDA (PDF) CT Full-Body Scans FDA (PDF)

Lung Screening Clinic Faculty

Pulmonary Medicine

Thoracic Radiology

Thoracic Surgery