January 03, 2004
The Lung Cancer Screening Program offers the very real possibility that people with early stage Lung Cancer will be identified and cured. The arguments for Lung Cancer screening are strong:
Eligible individuals will not incur any out of pocket expenses for the screening exam. If an individual is still smoking, they will be required to participate in a smoking cessation interview. The cost of this interview is $20. As part of this interview, the individual will be offered the opportunity to enroll in a full smoking cessation program. This will be provided free of cost (normally a $100 fee is assessed).
The exam is available to all residents of the community who are 50 years of age or older and have a significant history of smoking. If you have a 20 pack-year history of smoking, you are eligible to be considered for the procedure. To determine your pack-year history, multiply the number of packs you consume(d) per day times the number of years you smoked. For example: 2 packs per day for 10 years equals a 20-pack year history.
Screening CT exams for lung cancer are not at this time an established standard of care nationally or locally. There is no evidence that this screening improves survival despite evidence that it improves detection.
Because the CT scan is very sensitive, "incidental findings" or abnormalities are not uncommon. Many of these abnormalities are insignificant. Some, however, are significant and require further investigation.
When further investigation is necessary, the individual's personal physician will direct it. These diagnostic tests or procedures will not be covered by the Lung Cancer Screening funds, and therefore, will need to be covered by insurance or the patient. These expenses could be considerable.
If no abnormalities are found, the exam should be repeated in a year.
People interested in taking
advantage of this screening opportunity should contact the Ketchikan
Public Health Center for further information, at 225-4350.
Source of News Release & Photograph: