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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Lung cancer survivorship is generally low in comparison to other cancers because the disease is often caught in its later stages, when it is more difficult to treat.

Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that adults at high risk of developing lung cancer undergo annual low-dose CT screening. Current and former smokers are considered to be a high-risk for lung cancer.

Insurance coverage for the screening, however, is not usually provided. As a result, many people who should be screened are not. To address this issue, King’s Daughters Medical Center now offers this potentially life-saving exam to eligible individuals at for just $80.

“By making this screening exam affordable and accessible, we hope to save lives that might otherwise be lost,” said Mary Adams, RN, oncology nurse navigator at King’s Daughters.

Screenings will be offered from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 3 and Thursday, April 17.  To be eligible for the screening, participants must:

  • Be between the ages of 50 and 80
  • Not have been diagnosed or under treatment for lung cancer or lung nodules
  • Have a smoking history of 20 to 30 pack years. One pack year is equal to smoking one pack of cigarettes a day for a year.
  • Or be a former smoker who meets the pack-year criteria and quit no more than 15 years ago.
  • Be in relatively good health and willing/able to undergo treatment for cancer should an issue be found.

“As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with low-dose CT scans,” Adams said. These include:

  • False negative/false positive results. The screening may incorrectly provide a false negative result or a false positive. According to one national study, the rate of false negatives for low-dose CT screening programs ranges from 0 to 20 percent. A false positive result could lead to additional testing that may ultimately prove unnecessary.
  • Incidental findings. Low-dose CT scanning can pick up other disease processes, such as emphysema, coronary artery calcification, bronchiectasis, pulmonary fibrosis, carcinoid tumors and hamartomas.
  • Overdiagnosis. About 25 percent of lung cancer cases discovered in a recent low dose CT screening study were determined to be slow-growing or indolent (not likely to cause harm).
  • Radiation exposure. Low-dose CT scanning exposes the body to radiation. The lungs are especially susceptible to the effects of this radiation and additional cases of lung cancer may be caused by it. Because of this, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend low-dose CT screening for individuals who do not meet screening criteria.

Appointments are required. To find out more and determine eligibility for the program, please call 1-888-377-KDMC (5362).

 

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