Lung cancer

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Finding lung cancer early

When lung cancer is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better. Get regular health checkups and see your doctor if you have any symptoms or are worried about your health.


Screening tests help find some types of cancer before you have any symptoms. If you’re in a certain age or population group in Canada, you can go for regular screening tests that can help find breast, cervical and colorectal cancer at such an early stage that you won’t have noticed that anything is wrong.

No screening test is 100% accurate, but a good screening test is one that results in a decrease in death rates in people who do develop the cancer being screened.

Screening for lung cancer

Research has shown that using chest x-rays or sputum tests are not very good at finding lung cancer early enough to reduce death rates from the disease.

There are research studies that have shown using a CT scan with lower doses of radiation can find lung cancer in people before they have any symptoms. More research is being done to make sure that this test can be used for lung cancer screening.

Currently there are no screening programs in Canada for lung cancer. But most provinces and territories are looking at starting programs in the future.

computed tomography (CT) scan

An imaging technique that uses a computer to put a series of x-ray images together to create a 3-dimensional picture of organs, tissues, bones and blood vessels inside the body. A contrast medium may be injected to make organs and structures show up clearly on the x-ray images.

The image produced is called a CT scan.

Also called computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan.