NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Lung Cancer Screening - page 17

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Lung Cancer Screening
Version 1.2014
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: A mineral found
in body tissue
Curative treatment
Medicine that cures
disease or symptoms
Scar tissue
: Supportive
fibers that form to heal a
Read page 14 for a
description of LDCT.
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Solid or part-solid nodule
Second screening test
Baseline LDCT results
Testing recommendation
Lung nodule <6 mm in width
Start yearly LDCT screening
Lung nodule 6–8 mm in width Get follow-up LDCT in 3 months
Lung nodule >8 mm in width
Consider getting PET/CT (
As shown in the chart, baseline LDCT results are used to suggest when you
should get the next screening test. If the lung nodule is smaller than 6 mm, your
next LDCT should be in 1 year. Screening with LDCT should occur every year
for at least 2 years. After 2 years, your doctors may want you to continue yearly
screening. However, screening isn’t recommended for people with poor health, who
if diagnosed with cancer would not be able to receive curative treatment.
If the lung nodule is between 6 and 8 mm in width, your next LDCT should occur in
3 months. The nodule may be larger or more dense if it’s cancer. For nodules larger
than 8 mm, your doctors may want you to have a PET/CT. PET/CT may find if there’s
cancer quicker than LDCTs repeated over a period of time. It may also show signs of
cancer spreading in the body.
Like LDCT, PET takes pictures of the inside of the body. However, PET shows
how your cells are using a simple form of sugar. To create the pictures, a sugar
radiotracer first needs to be put into your body. The radiotracer emits a small amount
of energy that is detected by the machine that takes pictures. Cancer appears
brighter in the pictures because cancer cells use sugar more quickly than normal
cells. The PET scan may be done with the same or a different machine that does the
CT scan.
Part 4: The screening process
= low-dose
computed tomography
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