New lung cancer screenings

Jessica Fastert, RT(R)(M)(CT), ACMH Radiology Supervisor with equipment used for a new lung cancer screening. (photo contributed)

Audubon County Memorial Hospital & Clinics is pleased to announce that our radiology department is now offering a new lung cancer screening test, in which patients undergo a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has found that having a low dose CT of the chest in patients at high risk for developing lung cancer, reduced their mortality by 20%. According to the American Lung Association, a low-dose CT scan is one of the only procedure that can reduce mortality for those at high risk for lung cancer.

The low dose of radiation received during this annual screening makes it much safer for patients. By using a lower dose of radiation during the test, the patient is exposed to a smaller amount of radiation than during a typical CT procedure.

The screening program is designed to detect lung cancer at its earliest stages and help patients get access to life-saving care as quickly as possible. In order to qualify, patients should be between the ages of 55 and 77, have no symptoms of lung cancer, have no history of lung cancer, currently smoke or quit less than 15 years ago, and have at least a 30 pack per year history (which can be calculated by multiplying the number of years smoked by the average number of packs smoked per day.

A low-dose CT lung cancer screening is a covered benefit under the Accountable Care Act (ACA) for those that meet these high-risk requirements. Depending on the patient’s insurance, there may be some cost-sharing requirements. Medicare and Medicaid patients that meet all requirements should have service covered in full.

If you feel that you may qualify for the low-dose CT lung cancer screening, make an appointment with your primary care provider at Audubon Family Health Clinic or Exira Medical Clinic! Your primary care provider will evaluate you for lung cancer risk, schedule those at high risk for a screening test, and assure referrals for necessary follow-up care.