Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mobile, AL---Mobile Infirmary, Infirmary 65 and Thomas Hospital now offer a low-dose CT lung cancer screening program for early diagnosis of lung cancer. CT lung cancer screening is a diagnostic imaging test targeted for long-time smokers, ages 55 to 80, who have a 30 “pack years” history of smoking.
The new low-dose CT lung cancer screening can detect lung cancer early before symptoms occur increasing the likelihood of survival. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S – more people die of lung cancer each year than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.
Studies show that 75 percent of lung cancer patients are first diagnosed with advanced stage disease, which greatly reduces their chance of survival. The CT imaging technology uses an eighth the amount of radiation as that of standard CT so there is very little risk in lung cancer screening. But, the risk of getting lung cancer for smokers is great—85 percent of all lung cancers are found in smokers and the remainder is caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
The Affordable Care Act requires that private insurance covers this screening as of January 1, 2015; however, many insurance carriers are already covering the screening. Some insurance companies are requiring authorization prior to screening. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently approved a preliminary decision to cover the cost of the CT lung cancer screening for Medicare recipients, saying the evidence is sufficient to justify screening high-risk individuals until the age of 74 years. For private pay patients, the cost is $199 and includes hospital and radiologist fees.
A lung health nurse navigator is available to answer questions, explain required criteria and assist people in obtaining a physician order for the screening. The navigator can be reached by calling 251-435-2522. Click here to complete a lung cancer health risk assessment.  For more information on the low-dose lung cancer screening program visit http://infirmaryhealth.org/services/cancer.