Nanticoke Offers Lung Cancer Screening

As you may already know, lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. And while there are several causes of lung cancer, smoking is at the top of the list.

For many, lung cancer develops without symptoms. If a person is experiencing symptoms, the cancer is much more likely to have already spread to other parts of the body, making it more difficult to treat. The good news… like with many cancers, if diagnosed early the chances of surviving lung cancer increase
significantly. A study funded by the National Cancer Institute of patients using the low-dose CT scan to detect lung cancer found a 20 percent reduction in the death rate due to this disease, because the cancer was found earlier.

Nanticoke Health Services now offers this low dose Computerized Tomography (CT) screening. This screening is used on people that have a high-risk for lung cancer before symptoms appear. (This screening is used to detect lung cancer in high risk people before symptoms appear.)

How the Screening Works:

The low-dose CT scan takes multiple, cross-sectional images of the lungs, providing detailed views that can reveal nodules too small to show up on a traditional x-ray. It actually detect(s) abnormalities the size of a grain of rice. This is important because the larger the tumor, the higher the chance the cancer has spread. The scan takes less the (than) sixty seconds and keeps the (delete this word) exposure to radiation at a minimum. There are no injections and nothing to swallow.

This screening is covered by most insurance providers if you meet the criteria:

  • Are between the ages of 55-80; Medicare patients, between the ages of 55-77.
  • Are a current smoker or you have quit within the past fifteen years.
  • Have smoked an equivalent of 30 pack years. This means you have smoked about 1 pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for fifteen years.
  • Have not had a chest CT scan in the last year.
  • Do not have any signs or symptoms of lung cancer.

It is important you have a conversation with your health care provider before scheduling the screening. Some insurance providers, including Medicare, require a separate shared decision making visit to discuss the risks, benefits and other health care information surrounding this screening. This visit is required by Medicare for the costs of this screening to be covered by insurance. If you do not have insurance you may qualify for other financial assistance from Delaware’s Screenings for Life program. Your healthcare provider must schedule the screening.

Nanticoke Health Services is here to provide for the health of our community. It is our mission to provide you with the best care possible and (delete?) with the necessary information to make healthcare decisions that are right for you. You can learn more about the lung cancer screening with a low dose CT by calling your health care provider to schedule a shared-decision making appointment.

Myths About Lung Cancer:

“I feel fine. I don’t need to be tested.” A low-dose CT lung screening is a test specifically designed for those without any symptoms. People with lung cancer do not typically have symptoms until the cancer has spread. If you have a high risk for lung cancer, getting tested before you have symptoms may save your life.

“I quit smoking years ago so I don’t have to worry about lung cancer.” While quitting smoking is one of the most important things you have done for your health, your risk for lung cancer is still higher than someone who has never smoked. If you have quit in the past 15 years, you may still be a candidate for the lung cancer screening. Talk with your provider.

“I don’t want to get screened because I don’t want extra radiation exposure.” This is good to discuss with your provider. For those at high risk for lung cancer, the benefits of the low-dose CT scan may out weight the small risks that come from the low levels of radiation exposure. “I’ve heard that things that aren’t cancer show up on the test. Does that mean I shouldn’t trust the test?” Many adults have spots on their lungs that are not cancer. There are guidelines to help doctors determine if a spot is more likely to be cancer. Doctors ready (reading?) the results are radiologists trained in these guidelines.