CHICAGO (Nov. 20, 2013) — Weiss Memorial Hospital now offers the new low dose CT (LDCT) scans to test for lung cancer. The move comes during Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November) with a special focus on the growing number of women who are now smoking.Lung cancer remains the deadliest of all the cancers among both men and women. In 2010, more than 201,000 Americans were diagnosed with lung cancer (93,800 of them were women), and 158,000 of them died (70,500 of them were women). The death rate from lung cancer is more than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Of these four deadliest cancers, lung cancer is the only one that has not been subject to routine screening until now.
“Based on findings from a nationwide study, we know that CT lung screening can save the lives of people at high risk for developing lung cancer,” said Edgar Chedrawy, M.D., medical director of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at Weiss.
The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) – a large, National Cancer Institute-sponsored, randomized controlled trial – recently confirmed that screening individuals at high risk for lung cancer with an annual LDCT of the chest is effective at detecting the disease at an early stage. The study showed a 20 percent reduction in mortality among participants in the trial who had low dose CT screening compared to chest x-ray screening.
Lung cancer is lethal because it presents few symptoms until its late stages, when large tumors and destroyed lung tissue are discovered. A number of factors such as genetics, smoking, air pollution and radon all contribute to lung cancer.
Dr. Chedrawy is glad the LDCT scan of the chest is now available to patients with no previous diagnosis, but at risk – before the cancer has a chance to take hold and ravage the lungs. “About 80-percent of all lung cancers spread beyond surgical repair,” he noted.
The common course of action for lung cancer is surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. New medications with less harmful side effects of chemo are showing promise too.
The new recommendations for the LDCT scan from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network include high risk individuals for lung cancer:
- Persons between the ages of 55- and 75-years-old, currently smoking or having quit within the past 15 years, who have smoked at least 30 pack years (smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years).
- Persons between the ages of 55- and 75-years-old, who have smoked at least 20 pack years (smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for 20 years) and have one additional lung cancer risk, such as family history of lung cancer, personal history of chronic lung disease, or occupational exposures.
A lung cancer screening at Weiss’ American College of Radiology (ACR)-accredited CT department is $199. Most private insurers and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) do not reimburse for the test. In addition to patients being between the ages of 55 to 75 and being a current or former smoker, they must have a doctors order to be screened, so patients are advised to consult with their primary care doctor first. To set up an appointment, call 773-564-LUNG (5864).
Dr. Chedrawy will discuss these new lung screening guidelines at a lecture – Updates on Treatment of Lung Cancer – 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 at Weiss. To register for the free seminar, call (800) 503-1234.
In addition to surgeons, Weiss’ multidisciplinary cancer team is made up of oncologists, pulmonologists, pathologists, lymphedema specialists, radiation oncologists, nutritionists, radiologists, physical therapists, social workers, and a smoking cessation specialist, developing a personalized care plan for each patient.
For more information contact:
Weiss Public Relations