Lung Cancer Screening Program Aims to Improve Survival Rate
Lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., and a low-cost screening program at Mon Health Medical Center is a proven method to reduce the risk of death from lung cancer.
Mon Health’s Lung Cancer Screening Program uses a low-dose CT scan of the chest. This scan minimizes radiation exposure to patients and enables detection of lung cancer in its early stage to provide a greater chance for cure.
“The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial found that annual low-dose CT scans over 2 years reduced lung cancer deaths by 20%,” said Dr. Frederick Littles, a radiation oncologist at the Mon Health Zelda Stein Weiss Cancer Center.
Unfortunately, when symptoms of lung cancer occur, the disease is already at an advanced, incurable stage.
“More people die of lung cancer than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined – even though the incidence of these other cancers is more than 4 times as high,” Dr. Littles said. “The better survival rate of these other cancers can be largely attributed to early detection through screenings such as colonoscopy, mammography and a PSA test. With a low-dose CT scan, we can detect 85% of lung cancers in the earliest, most curable stages.”
Early Detection of Lung Cancer
Adults who meet the following criteria are eligible for Mon Health’s Lung Cancer Screening Program:
- Be 55-77 years old
- Be asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
- Have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (A pack-year is calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years the person has smoked. For example, 1 pack-year is equal to smoking 1 pack a day for a year, or 2 packs per day for half a year.)
- Be a current smoker or one who has quit within the last 15 years
If you meet these criteria, talk to your doctor about a referral. The initial cost of the program is $99, but it’s typically covered by insurance.
The cost includes a low-dose CT scan, a one-on-one follow-up with the program’s medical assistant and a smoking cessation program.
Most lung cancers can be prevented because they’re related to smoking, or less often to environmental factors such as exposure to radon or asbestos.