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Low-dose CT Lung Screening Available Now

The probability that a man will be diagnosed with lung cancer in his lifetime is approximately 1 in 13, while the risk for women is 1 in 16, says the American Cancer Society (ACS). [1]These numbers include smokers and non-smokers, with the highest risk attributed to those who are former or current smokers.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, according to the ACS. It is estimated that in 2014 alone, 224,210 new cases will be diagnosed and 159,260 will die (86,930 men and 72,330 women).

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force [2](USPSTF) recently approved annual low-dose CT lung cancer screenings for adults ages 55 through 80 who have a “30 pack-year” history of smoking (described as a pack a day for 30 years; two packs a day for 15 years, and so on) or who have quit smoking in the past 15 years.

“CT screening for lung cancer has been a long time in waiting,” said Mark Dylewski, M.D., medical director of general thoracic and robotic surgery at Baptist Health South Florida. “Evidence has shown that the majority of lung cancer patients who are cured of their disease are those patients found to have incidental early-stage lung tumors. For decades, we have known who is at risk for developing lung cancer. It makes perfect sense that we screen those patients at risk.”

The USPSTF found that current or former smokers who were screened annually by low-dose CT have a 20 percent lower risk of dying from lung cancer than those screened with conventional chest X-rays. The findings are important because it appears that yearly screening with low-dose CT imaging can save the lives of seemingly healthy people who have a history of heavy smoking.

“This landmark trial demonstrated that if you choose the right group of patients at high risk, you can save a substantial number of lives by screening with CT imaging,” said Juan Carlos Batlle, M.D., chief of thoracic imaging at Baptist Health South Florida.”For lung cancer, that means the first step in battling a disease with historically abysmal survival rates.”

A diagnosis of lung cancer is serious and in the past, the prognosis has not been good. But with low-dose CT lung screening, it is anticipated the numbers of lung cancer survivors is expected to increase by 20 percent. Today, the ACS estimates that there are 380,000 lung cancer survivors as a result of early detection.

Early detection saves lives and that’s why Baptist Health is offering a discounted rate for those at high risk.  If you meet the criteria and have a doctor’s prescription, you may be eligible to receive a low-dose lung CT for $35 at any Baptist location.

Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. If you currently smoke, or if you quit smoking within the past 15 years, get a screening. You could save your life and the lives of your family.

For more information, call 786-596-LUNG (5864) in Miami-Dade; 954-837-1000 in Broward; 305-434-1588 in Monroe or visit BaptistHealth.net/LungScreening. [3]