Recognition of National Lung Cancer Awareness Month

In recognition of National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics is committed to raising awareness of lung cancer and the benefits of early detection. The ACMH radiology department offers a lung cancer screening test, in which patients undergo a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has found that having a low-dose CT of the chest in patients at high risk for developing lung cancer, reduced their mortality by 20%. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a low-dose CT scan is the only recommended screening test for lung cancer. The CDC has determined that the key to defeating lung cancer is early detection in high risk individuals who have no symptoms.

The low-dose of radiation received during this annual screening makes it much safer for patients. By using a lower dose of radiation during the test, the patient is exposed to a smaller amount of radiation. The American Lung Association (ALA), states that, “This type of scan uses 75% less radiation than a regular CT scan.”

The screening program is designed to detect lung cancer at its earliest stages and help patients get access to life-saving care as quickly as possible. In order to qualify, patients should be between the ages of 55 and 80, have no symptoms of lung cancer, have no history of lung cancer, currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years, and have at least a 30 pack per year history (which can be calculated by multiplying the number of years smoked by the average number of packs smoked per day.)

A low-dose CT lung cancer screening is a covered benefit under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for those that meet these high-risk requirements. Depending on the patient’s insurance, there may be some cost-sharing requirements. Medicare and Medicaid patients that meet all requirements should have this service covered in full.

If you feel that you may qualify for the low-dose CT lung cancer screening, make an appointment with your primary care provider at Audubon Family Health Clinic or Exira Medical Clinic! Your primary care provider will evaluate you for lung cancer risk, schedule those at high risk for a screening test, and assure referrals for necessary follow-up care.