TROY — Patients at high risk for lung cancer can now get a screening at Upper Valley Medical Center and other Premier Health facilities to help improve survival rate. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States and is the number one cancer killer in the US.
It may not be a surprise that people who smoke are at the greatest risk of lung cancer. But with early detection, such as the screening, there is an improvement in the survival rate. One of the primary factors is that lung cancer sufferers do not always have noticeable symptoms. That is why Premier Health offers the screening program designed to identify issues – before symptoms are noticeable.
“Early cancer detection can improve survival rates. This very simple test has proven to provide great results in detecting the presence of lung cancer early for better treatment,” said Shannon Kauffman, M.D., radiologist.
Who is eligible
Eligibility is based on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines. The Lung Cancer Screening program is available for people at high risk for lung cancer. This includes people:
Between the ages of 55-74 a current smoker or quit within the last 15 years and have smoked at least one pack per day for 30 years.
Between the ages of 50-74 who have smoked at least one pack per day for 20 years, plus have one additional risk factor (see below), not to include secondhand smoke exposure:
• Family history of lung cancer (mother, father, sibling, child)
• Personal history of chronic lung disease (COPD, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis)
• Occupational exposure to lung carcinogens (arsenic, asbestos, beryllium, cadmium, soot, chromium, diesel fumes, nickel, silica, coal smoke)
• Radon exposure (documented residential, occupational, mining, firefighter, military-active combat)
• Personal history of cancer excluding metastatic disease (lung cancer greater than five years ago, lymphoma, head and neck, esophageal, bladder, cervix, colon, kidney, pancreas, stomach, other smoking related cancer)
• Patients with metallic implants or devices in the chest or back, such as pacemakers or Harrington fixation rods, are not eligible for lung cancer screening due to potential imaging artifacts.
How the screening works
The lung cancer screening uses a low-dose CT scan, a proven method* of identifying lung cancer. Using this technology, images of a patient’s lungs are reviewed for indications of cancer. Results of the test are sent directly to the physician.
Dr. Steve Chambers, pulmonologist, said the CT scan is a painless, non-invasive test. “The screening is very simple but effective and takes a few minutes to complete, said Dr. Chambers. “It has the potential to provide life-saving results. I would say it is well worth the cost.”
The cost of the screening is $79 (self-pay) and typically is not covered by insurance but may be reimbursable through a flexible spending account. Patients are encouraged to check with their benefits provider for details. A physician referral is required for this screening. Talk to your physician for a referral and to find out if you meet additional criteria for this screening.
To learn more, visit PremierHealth.com/lung.