If you’ve been smoking cigarettes, the No. 1 lung cancer risk factor, for a long time, the New Hanover Regional Medical Center offers a quick and painless screening that can save your life.
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women in the United States. It is also the leading cause of death from cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If lung cancer is detected earlier, there are more treatment options and better patient outcomes,” said Kim Sink of NHRMC Health and Diagnostics. “Screening for high-risk patients is the best way to diagnose lung cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage.”
Sink said you should get screened for lung cancer if you are between the ages of 55 and 77, are a smoker, or have quit in the past 15 years and have a smoking history of at least 30 pack years, which means you have one pack per day smoked. for 30 years or two packs per day for 15 years.
The screening is not a one-off proposition.
“Screening high-risk individuals annually will help diagnose and treat lung cancer at an early stage,” said Sink.
NHRMC offers an annual program to screen high-risk patients until they are non-smokers for 16 years or reach the age of 78, she said, adding, “Patients and caregivers will receive reminder letters for recommended short-term follow-up and annual exams. . “
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening for lung cancer.
The National Lung Screening Trial showed a dramatic 20 percent decrease in lung cancer deaths among high-risk patients screened annually with low-dose chest CT scans, compared to patients screened with standard chest X-rays, The New reports. England Journal of Medicine.
“X-rays used to be preferred. But by the time there was a lump, the disease had already progressed, ”said Sink. “Low dose CT screening is now the standard of care.”
NHRMC offers low dose CT screening at a variety of locations, including:
- NHRMC Health and Diagnostics Brunswick Forest
- NHRMC Health & Diagnostics Medical Mall
- NHRMC Health and diagnostics Military exclusion
- NHRMC Health & Diagnostics North (Scotts Hill)
- New Hanover Medical Group Myrtle Grove
- New Hanover Medical Group Ogden
- Pender Memorial Hospital
If you have a referral to a doctor, you can call 910.667.8777 to make an appointment at a location that is convenient for you.
Medicare provides coverage for patients who meet the above criteria and are considered high risk. Some insurance companies pay for lung exams. Contact your insurer for details.
What to Expect
NHRMC recommends low-dose CT screening patients to wear comfortable clothing and leave all valuables and jewelry at home.
The patient examination takes about half an hour, with five to eight minutes spent at a CT scanner table.
CT scanning uses X-rays and computers to produce detailed images of your lungs and can detect smaller tumors than a standard X-ray.
“This is quick and painless, and the radiation dose is only slightly higher than a traditional X-ray,” she said.
After the exam, a radiologist will interpret the results and determine future imaging recommendations. The presence of a worrying lump could mean that the patient is being advised to undergo advanced imaging tests and possibly a lung biopsy.
Patients with tissue-diagnosed lung cancer can be referred to the NHRMC lung program, which helps accelerate the care plan through the collaboration of specialists. For more information on the lung program, visit https://www.nhrmc.org/lung-program.
The CDC says the best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. Screening is not a substitute for smoking cessation.
For more information about lung cancer screening, visit: https://www.nhrmc.org/lung-cancer-screening