PINEHURST – A shocking average of 193 women die each day of lung cancer, one every seven minutes.
According to the National Lung Cancer Alliance, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women. It is also the leading cause of cancer death in men.
It is projected that by the end of 2018, an estimated 70,500 women will have died from lung cancer. Even scarier? Lung cancer mortality rates among women around the world could increase by 40 percent by 2030, according to a new study published in Cancer Research.
Even though most of these deaths are related to the effects of cigarette smoking, there had not been until recently a proven method for early lung cancer detection. As a result, most lung cancers were being diagnosed in later stages when they are more difficult to treat.
Today, patients with a history of cigarette smoking can benefit from reliable screening for early lung cancer detection in the form of the low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans offered at FirstHealth of the Carolinas.
A lung CT screening works basically the same way as a CT screening for any other body part. The patient lies beneath the scanner, which captures high-quality images of the lungs. The image is then read by a board certified radiologist, and the results are shared with the patient by their primary care provider.
A scan, which is done without the use of dyes or contrasts, is painless and takes only a few minutes. Patients get only slightly more radiation than they would get from a traditional X-ray.
To be considered for a screening people should:
- Be 55 through 77 years of age.
- Have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or the equivalent, such as two packs a day for 15 years.
People who should not be screened include:
- Those younger than 55 or older than 77.
- Those who smoked less or often than those previously described.
- Those who quit smoking 15 or more years ago.
- Those too sick or frail to tolerate lung cancer treatment.
- Those who have had a chest CT sometime in the previous 18 months.
A physician referral is required for the lung cancer screening, and most major insurance companies, including Medicare, cover the screening.
The screening is offered at all of FirstHealth’s Outpatient Imaging Departments – FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, Montgomery Memorial Hospital, Moore Regional Hospital – Richmond and Moore Regional Hospital – Hoke. For more information on the lung cancer screening program, contact your primary care provider, or download the referral form at www.firsthealth.org/lungcancerscreening.