- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Ontario
- Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening can find lung cancer at an early stage, when treatment is more likely to be successful
Evidence to support lung cancer screening
The National Lung Screening Trial compared high-risk participants who had annual LDCT screening vs. participants who had chest X-rays, and found that LDCT screening led to a 20% reduction in lung cancer deaths. This randomized controlled trial based in the United States included more than 53,000 participants.
The results of the National Lung Screening Trial, as well as others (Dutch-Belgium NELSON-trial) caused the Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care to recommend all provinces build and establish lung cancer screening programs.
More evidence supporting Lung Cancer Screening in Canada >>
To be referred to the program, you must:
- Be 55 to 74 years old
- Be a current or former smoker who has smoked cigarettes daily for at least 20 years (does not have to be 20 years in a row)
People cannot be referred to the program if they:
- Have been diagnosed with lung cancer
- Are under surveillance for lung nodules
- Have experienced hemoptysis (coughing up blood) of unknown cause or unexplained weight loss of more than five kilograms (11 pounds) in the past year*
- Are currently undergoing diagnostic assessment, treatment or surveillance for life-threatening conditions (such as a cancer with a poor predicted outcome) as assessed by the referring physician.
*People with these symptoms should receive appropriate diagnostic investigation and consultation.
You must have OHIP coverage to participate in the program, except for Quebec residents of the Akwesasne First Nation.