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Lung Cancer Screening Clinics

Your Health Matters

In Washington County, the rates for stage three and four lung cancer diagnosis is above state and national averages. Facts like, this along with an analysis of Meritus Health’s Community Health Needs Assessment survey, led the hospital’s cancer committee to take a closer look at lung cancer screening.

Beginning in November, the John R. Marsh Cancer Center will hold lung cancer screening clinics for individuals who meet Medicare’s guidelines for screening. The goal of the program is to look for lung cancer before it causes symptoms and to reduce the number of people who die from the disease.

LDCT LUNG CANCER SCREENING CRITERIA

  • Age 55-77 years
  • Smoking history: Greater than or equal to 30-pack years (i.e., one pack per day for 30 years or two packs per day for 15 years)
  • Current smoker or has quit smoking for less than 15 years
  • No current diagnosis of lung cancer
  • No signs or symptoms of lung cancer
  • Healthy enough to have lung surgery if necessary
  • Willing to receive potentially curative treatment

Early detection is key to effective treatment

“For individuals who are at high risk, it’s important to screen for cancer and find it at an earlier stage when it’s small and easier to treat,” says Michael J. McCormack, M.D., medical oncologist with Meritus Hematology and Oncology Specialists. A low-dose CT chest scan or LDCT can identify lung cancer in patients as early as stage 1, which when treated, can produce a five-year survival rate of 92 percent.

“CT scans of the chest provide more detailed pictures of the lungs,” says Shaju Shamsuddin, M.D., radiation oncologist with the John R. Marsh Cancer Center. “Low-dose CT of the chest exposes patients to small amounts of radiation, but it should be done at a facility experienced in this type of scan with process in place for appropriate patient follow up.”

Screening made easy

During the clinic, a nurse practitioner provides education about lung cancer screening, eligibility for screening, potential harms and benefits of screening, insurance coverage and other questions related to the lung cancer screening program. If the patient decides to receive a LDCT and results of the scan are positive, a nurse practitioner is available to recommend and coordinate next steps.

Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance companies cover LDCT lung cancer screening once a year if patients meet the screening criteria. The John R. Marsh Cancer Center’s lung cancer screening program will provide LDCT scans to individuals who do not have health insurance and who quality for the program based on financial needs, their smoking history and health status.

Call the lung cancer screening program at 301-665-4671 to learn more.