How the NLCSP will work

Lung cancer screening will be available to eligible individuals from July 2025. Check if you're eligible for the National Lung Cancer Screening Program (NLCSP) and learn how the process will work.


You are eligible for the program if you:

  • are aged between 50 and 70 years
  • show no signs or symptoms of lung cancer (that is, you are asymptomatic)


  • have a history of at least 30 pack-years of cigarette smoking and are still smoking


  • have a history of at least 30 pack-years of cigarette smoking and quit in the past 10 years.

Your healthcare provider will also assess whether you are suitable for screening based on specific criteria (which may be temporary) such as being able to lie down flat to complete a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan.

Definition of ‘pack-years’

The term ‘pack-year’ is a way of measuring the number of cigarettes a person has smoked.

Pack-years are calculated by multiplying the number of cigarette packs smoked per day by the number of years the person has smoked.

For example, 1 pack-year is equal to smoking 20 cigarettes (1 pack) per day for 1 year, or 40 cigarettes per day for half a year:

  • 1 pack a day for 1 year = 1 pack year
  • 2 packs a day for 6 months = 1 pack year.

A healthcare provider can help you calculate your pack-years.

To be eligible for the NLCSP, you must have a history of cigarette smoking of at least 30 pack-years and still smoke; OR at least 30 pack-years and have quit in the past 10 years.

Learn more about how the eligibility criteria were determined.

How screening works

The flowchart text reads:

See your doctor or healthcare provider.

Agree to participate in the NLCSP and get a referral for a scan.

Get the scan.

Get your results.

Depending on the results, see your healthcare provider for next steps or screen again in 2 years' time.

NLCSP screening involves 4 main steps:

  1. A healthcare provider (like a GP or a health worker at an Aboriginal Health Service) checks if you are eligible by asking your age and smoking history.
  2. If you agree to participate and wish to do a screening test, the healthcare provider will give you a referral to a radiology (medical imaging) provider for a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan.
  3. For the scan, you will lie down on a table while the equipment takes images of your chest. The scan doesn’t involve any injections or other procedures, and usually takes around 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. You and your healthcare provider will receive the scan results. You may need to see your healthcare provider to discuss the next steps and if any follow-up tests are needed. If your scan has no findings, the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) will let you know. You will receive a reminder from the NCSR in 2 years’ time to screen again.

Mobile screening for rural and remote areas

If you live in a rural or remote area, it can be hard to get to a screening location. We are planning mobile lung cancer screening services to help people in these areas. 

Learn more about our plans for mobile screening.

Getting your results

Once you complete the scan, the radiologist will review the images and your results will be entered in the NCSR and sent to your healthcare provider. You will also receive communication from the NCSR advising of next steps. 

The next steps after you complete your scan will depend on what is found during screening.

This could include going back to the GP to discuss the results and booking another follow-up scan if required. The results will not be available to participants via the NCSR, but the system will remind you to visit your healthcare provider or when to get your next scan. You may need another scan in 3 months or 12 months. It may also mean getting a referral to a respiratory health specialist for further investigation.

If your scan has no findings, the NCSR will let you know. You will receive a reminder from the NCSR in 2 years’ time to screen again.

Accessing the National Cancer Screening Register

The NCSR provides information and helpful reminders about screening.

The NCSR Participant Portal allows you to:

  • update personal details
  • manage your participation
  • update communication preferences (paper or electronic options)
  • view your screening information. 

The NCSR also sends you information on what happens next or when you are due for your next scan. Your healthcare provider will also receive your results. 

To access the portal, log in to myGov. You will see an option to link to the NCSR.

You will also be able to see when your last lung cancer screen was. If you participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and/or the National Cervical Screening Program, you can also see information and communications about those programs.

You can choose to stay in the NLCSP but opt out of receiving information from the NCSR (such as reminders to screen).

To learn more, visit the National Cancer Screening Register.


The consultation and referral

You will need to see a healthcare provider (like a GP, a specialist or other qualified healthcare providers) to get a referral for a LDCT scan. Healthcare providers who do not bulk bill may charge a general fee for consultations about the NLCSP.

Check what fees your GP charges for consultations when you book your appointment. You can visit healthdirect to find a bulk-billing service.

The LDCT scan

There will be 2 new mandatory bulk billing MBS items for LDCT scans under the NLCSP:

  • 1 MBS item for the screening LDCT scan done by the participant every 2 years 
  • 1 MBS item for any follow-up LDCT scans that may be required in the 2-year screening period depending on the results of the screening LDCT scan.  

The MBS items mean that patients will not have any out-of-pocket costs for the LDCT scan through the NLCSP. 

This is because as a bulk-billed item, a radiology provider accepts the schedule fee as full payment for the service (and cannot charge a co-payment) when claiming from MBS. 

Help and support to stop smoking

While there are many causes of lung cancer, tobacco use is the main risk factor associated with lung cancer. In Australia, 90% of lung cancer in men and 65% of lung cancer in women is estimated to be a result of smoking.

Smoking is addictive. Quitting can be one of the most difficult things a person can do for their health and wellbeing.

If you or someone you know is interested in quitting smoking, there are a range of measures and services already available to help people to quit.

Find out more information on quitting: How to quit smoking.


National Lung Cancer Screening Program contact

Contact us for information about the National Lung Cancer Screening Program, which will launch in July 2025.
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