Internet Explorer no longer supports some features of our website. For best results, use Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

Did you know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States? According to the American Cancer Society, more than 220,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017.

Lung cancer occurs when abnormal cells form in the lungs and grow out of control. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, eight out of 10 lung cancer cases in the United States are caused by smoking. Additionally, nine out of 10 people die from the disease because it is diagnosed too late.


Good news

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that the evidence is sufficient to add a shared-decision making visit and an annual lung cancer screening to the preventative services available under the Medicare program.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) launched a lung cancer screening program for patients who qualify in June 2017. Interested participants should:

  1. Complete the Low Dose DCT Lung Screening referral form with their primary care provider.
  2. Participate in a shared decision-making visit at Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists located in Boone, NC.
  3. Schedule a LDCT scan at Watauga Medical Center.
  4. Discuss results and follow up plan with ARHS’s Pulmonology Navigator.

Download the Low Dose DCT Lung Screening referral form

For more information about the lung cancer screening call (828) 386-2039.


Who is eligible under Medicare?  

  • Patient must be between 55 – 77 years of age.
  • No signs or symptoms of lung cancer.
  • Current smoker or quit within the last 15 years.
  • Have smoked at least 30 pack years (1 pack-year=smoking one pack/20 cigarettes per day for 1 year)

Will private insurance cover the LDCT scan?

  • Private insurance plans do cover LDCT scans for patients between 55 – 80 years of age.

Find out if you’re a candidate for our lung cancer screening programs today, call Callie Crump at (828) 386- 2039 ext. 62039

Screening Details

What is a shared decision-making visit?

  • Face-to-face meeting between the patient and their clinicians to discuss the benefits and potential risks of a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan.

What is a LDCT scan?

  • The LDCT scan is especially effective for diagnosing cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages. The patient will lie on an exam table while an x-ray machine uses a low dose of radiation to make a detailed image of the patient’s lungs. The outpatient procedure is painless and only takes a few minutes to complete.

 Benefits & Risks


  • CT scanning is painless and doesn’t require needles
  • LDCT of the chest is especially effective for diagnosing cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage
  • Lung cancer screening with LDCT has been proven to reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer


  • Possibility of a false- positive result
  • There is a theoretical small risk of cancer from exposure to low dose radiation.
  • Not all of the cancers detected by LDCT will be found in the early stages of the disease
  • Test results that appear to be normal even when lung cancer is present are called false-negative results.

Share this page