Great question - way to be proactive about your health! Hospitals across the United States are now offering a low-dose CT screen in the hopes that through these types of screens, lung cancer can be caught earlier. The earlier, the more treatable, especially since the normal symptoms of lung cancer are similar to those that a smoker has on a daily basis: shortness of breath, coughing, etc.
Here at St. Francis, we offer a a low-dose CT screen partnered with a heart scan for $99. No physician referral is required, you just have to meet a few qualifications: you've smoked a pack a day for 30 years (or the equivalent) and you are in between the ages of 55 to 75. We add the heart scan in because smokers are at increased risk of heart disease. (that might be something you want a doc to check out too.)
I did some research on hospitals in your area who offer a similar screening. The good news is that I found one hospital that offers the low dose lung CT screen. The bad news is that it's a hike: to Houston (it was the closest one I could find.) At Houston Methodist Hospital, they offer this very screen, with a few qualifications:
You must be a current or former smoker, age 55 or older and have smoked the equivalent of one pack a day for at least 30 years; former smokers should have quit within the previous 15 years. Patients are ineligible if they have a history of lung cancer, have an unexplained weight loss greater than 15lbs in the last year, have a history of coughing up blood or have not smoked a cigarette in more than 15 years.
It doesn't look like you need a physician referral for this one: you just simply call 7.1.3.-4.4.1.-220.127.116.11 for an apponitment. They will pre-screen you to make sure you fit the requirements, and if you do, they'll get your appointment scheduled. There is a registration form you can fill out before your appointment that can be found here:
Hope this helps, tweety! Let me know if you need anything else.