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CT Screenings Prove More Effective In Early Lung Cancer Detection

July 19, 2011

Augusta, GA  – For years many doctors have turned to chest x-rays in helping to detect lung cancer, but a new study shows that yearly low-dose chest CT screenings may reduce the lung cancer mortality rate by as much as 20%.

The National Lung Screening Trial (NSLT), sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, was conducted at 33 US medical centers. The trial compared annual screening by low-dose CT with chest x-rays for 3 years in more than 53,000, current and former heavy smokers, men and women aged 55 to 74.  After more than six years of follow up, the trial was stopped in November 2010 after initial results showed 20% fewer lung cancer deaths among those who had CT screening compared to those who received chest x-rays.  According to the NSLT, it has been proven that CT screenings performed on those who are at risk for lung cancer can detect lung cancer earlier than was possible with chest radiography. 

“This is powerful research that we know may help save lives. Lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined so we want the appropriate members of the community to have the opportunity to get this screening. Not everyone is suitable for this test, but in the right person it is potentially life-saving. Similar to other screening tests, it is best to seek the advice of your healthcare provider first and discuss the risks and benefits of lung cancer screening. Of course, it must also be emphasized that quitting smoking is a more proven and powerful way to prevent death and complications from lung cancer.” says Dr. Guillermo Amurao, MD, MPH, lung specialist and lung cancer advocate who is also the medical director of Critical Care at Doctors Hospital. 

In light of the new research, Doctors Hospital is now the first in the area to offer CT lung screening at a greatly reduced cost of $270 since this type of screening is not covered by insurance.  Since rolling out the new screening, community members have already begun to take advantage of the early detection opportunity.  “I’m a long-time smoker and have never had my lungs checked, but I knew that this was a rate I could afford.  When I heard that my lungs were in good condition I was so relieved, like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders,” says Jesse Gamble, CT screening patient.

The CT screening is an easy scan that is non-invasive and takes only a few minutes to perform.  Once the scan is performed the results will be shared with the patient so they can discuss them further with their doctor. 

Are you eligible for the low cost CT Lung Screening?

1st - You must meet the first 3 requirements:

  1. Must be 50 years old or older.
  2. Must be free from current lung disease/illness.
  3. Cannot have had a CT scan within past 1 year.

2nd – You only need to meet one of these to qualify:

  1. Have at least 20 pack-year history of smoking.
  2. Exposure to second-hand smoke for 10 years.
  3. Worked in an occupation that exposed you to lung cancer causing agents.

For more information or to register for the screening call (706) 651-4343.