LOW DOSE COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY LUNG CANCER SCREENING
“CATCH IT BEFORE IT CATCHES YOU”
Murray-Calloway County Hospital has launched a campaign, “Catch it Before It Catches You” to increase community awareness and uptake of MCCH’s low dose lung cancer screening program.
The lung cancer screening program at Murray-Calloway County Hospital offers those with high risk of developing lung cancer the opportunity to be screened for lung cancer with the latest in 3-dimensional Computed Tomography (CT) imaging. This allows patients to receive their diagnosis at an early stage, even before symptoms develop. Early detection alone can save up to 20,000 lives each year, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
MCCH is promoting the screening program to the community and the physicians in hopes that more high-risked individuals will use the screening program to increase the chances of finding lung cancer early at a more treatable stage. As of February 20, 2017, there have been 34 screenings completed with the following results: 3 probably benign (non-cancerous), 2 suspicious, and 1 significant finding.
“My ultimate goal for this project is to get the physicians on board with promoting and referring the LDCT screening. This screening is very important in reducing lung cancer fatalities within our community. With smoking being so prevalent in our community, it is highly likely that everyone knows someone who smokes. It is important for us to encourage them to stop smoking and if they meet the qualifications, get scanned. This is a personal topic for me as I have many family members and friends who smoke and are at risk for lung cancer. If we all promote this screening, we could be increasing the lives of our loved ones for an extended amount of time,” said Autumn Brown, Health Promotions Intern.
Benefits and Risks of Low Dose CT Lung Screening
Any exposure to ionizing radiation carries some inherent risk. Before undergoing a low dose-screening chest CT, you should understand the potential risks and benefits of the exam and discuss them with your physician. Low dose chest CT results use approximately one quarter dose of a conventional chest CT. MCCH has a dose modulation package installed on their CT that further reduces radiation to the patient. This screening is non-invasive.
Without screening, many lung cancers diagnosed are not able to be surgically removed due to their advanced stage. With the leadership of local physicians and hospital administration, we have started a process that is designed to diagnose patients when there is hope for treatment and ‘more tomorrows’.
“Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans and appropriate follow-up care significantly reduces lung cancer deaths,” said Heidi Hordyk, R.T., CNMT, MBA, Director of Radiology. “This program is the most effective way to identify tumors and reduce lung cancer deaths.”
Medicare eligibility requirements for lung cancer screening:
• Age 55-77 years
• Asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer)
• Tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack-years. A pack year is calculated as follows:
Packs/day multiplied by the number of years smoked = pack years
• Current smoker or one who has quit smoking within the last 15 years
• Written physician order
Other insurance companies may have different criteria for covering a lung cancer screening. Most private insurances now cover the screening but check with your provider for more information.
Over 50% of lung cancers could be cured if they were caught at an early stage.
Five year survival rate is less than 5% when diagnosed as advanced Stage IV lung cancer.
Currently, Medicare and most private insurances are now covering the cost of low dose chest CT lung screening for patients who meet the eligibility requirements. For the screening to be most effective, it is recommended the screening be done annually. If insurance coverage is not available, a reduced pre-paid cash price option at the time of the service. Radiologist interpretation fees will be billed separately.
How do I schedule this exam?
If you feel that you could benefit from the lung screening, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. The exam requires a written physician order and can be scheduled by the provider’s office.
For more information about the lung cancer screening program at Murray-Calloway County Hospital, contact Heidi Hordyk, R.T., CNMT, MBA, Director of Radiology at 270.762.2179.