Lung Cancer is Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths in Indiana
There’s no point in sugar coating it. Lung cancer has a distressing five-year survival rate of 18.6 percent. It’s much lower than other cancers, including breast, colon and prostate. Why? I believe it’s because very few people are aware there’s a lung screening test for individuals at high-risk for the disease. The test, called low-dose CT, is quick, painless and non-invasive. But most important, it can help detect lung cancer before it’s visible on an X-ray, and before you have noticeable symptoms. Simply stated, it catches the disease early when there is the best chance of cure.
Screenings increase the likelihood of surviving lung cancer for five years or more by 56 percent.
It’s been six years since the United States Preventive Task Force started recommending lung cancer screenings, and sadly less than six percent of people at high-risk for developing lung cancer have been screened. Now, let’s compare that to breast cancer screening compliance at 71.6 percent, colorectal screening compliance at 62.9 percent and prostate screening compliance at 38.8 percent. We have got to close this gap.
Talk to your doctor about lung cancer screening.
If you think you’re at high-risk for developing lung cancer, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she can help you make an informed decision about whether low-dose CT screening is right for you. The good news is this test is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance if you meet all of the following requirements. You must:
- Be a current smoker or quit within the last 15 years,
- Have a 30 pack year smoking history, (one pack per day for 30 years/two packs per day for 15 years/three packs per day for 10 years, etc.)
- Haven’t had a CT thorax scan within the last 12 months; and
- Are between 55 and 77 years of age (or 80 years of age if private insurance).
For those who are uninsured, Highpoint Health offers low-dose CT screenings at a reduced rate of $150.
Highpoint Health is on a mission is to reduce lung cancer deaths.
We need to raise awareness about lung cancer screening. A recent report from the American Lung Association said there are an estimated nine million Americans who are at high-risk for lung cancer and could have low-dose CT screening covered at no cost. But sadly, only 15 percent were aware of this. Even worse, 84 percent of those eligible aren’t familiar with low-dose CT scans.
If you meet the screening criteria, please call your doctor and make an appointment. If you think someone you love is at high risk for lung cancer, please share this article. It could literally be the difference between life and death.
Highpoint Health is designated by the American College of Radiology as a top quality provider of safe, effective diagnostic imaging for individuals at high risk for lung cancer.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Provided By: Thom Bunnell, DO, Director of Primary Care, Highpoint Health Physician Partners
To learn more, contact Dr. Bunnell at 812-537-4999.