The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended certain screenings for people who are at high risk for lung cancer. The Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center, in anticipation of this recommendation, began planning to offer additional services aimed at helping to prevent a substantial number of lung-cancer related deaths. Today, Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center officials announced SmartLung CT, a new low-dose CT scan available to at-risk smokers.
The biggest risk factor for developing lung cancer is smoking, accounting for nearly 85% of lung cancers in the United States. The risk for developing lung cancer also increases with age, with a majority of lung cancers occurring in people age 55 and older.
“The most effective way to prevent lung cancer deaths is by encouraging smokers to quit smoking but we know it’s not always that simple,” said Rae Gonterman, senior vice president, Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center. “This recommendation supports an important alternative, giving us another tool we believe will lead to earlier detection and prevent lung-cancer deaths.”
After reviewing the evidence, the Task Force determined that hospitals could reach a reasonable balance of benefits and harms by screening people who are 50 to 74 years old and have a 30 pack year or greater history of smoking, who are either current smokers or have quit in the past fifteen years. A “pack year” means that someone has smoked an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for a year. For example, a person reaches 30 pack years of smoking history by smoking a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.
“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and a devastating diagnosis for more than two hundred thousand people each year,” said Task Force chair Virginia Moyer, M.D., M.P.H. “Sadly, nearly 90 percent of people who develop lung cancer die from the disease, in part because it often is not found until it is at an advanced stage. By screening those at high risk, we can find lung cancer at earlier stages when it is more likely treatable.”
Individuals who meet the screening criteria and are interested in scheduling an appointment for a low-dose CT scan should call 260-266-7500.