Known as the silent killer, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It claims nearly 160,000 lives annually with 200,000 additional people diagnosed with the disease each year. To promote early detection of lung cancer and to increase the chances for long-term survival, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center introduces the area’s first lung cancer screening program for high risk individuals.
General Surgeon Dr. Alex Jones explains, “Most treatable lung cancer cases are detected as incidental findings, meaning the patient is being treated for another condition and lung cancer is suspected during the diagnosis.” For patients, this too often means their lung cancer is detected later in the disease process which limits treatment options.
Lung Cancer Screening
The screening costs $250 and includes a low-dose CT scan, a review by a radiologist, consultation with a lung cancer nurse navigator, and, if the results are abnormal, a review by a surgeon. The screening is not covered by insurance and payment is due at the time of the screening.
Lung Cancer Self-Risk Assessment
Following is the lung cancer self-risk assessment. By taking this important step – the first step – you are taking control of your health:
- You are 50 years or older.
- You’re a smoker or have a smoking history of at least 20 more pack years OR have been exposed to second hand smoke for more than 10 years. (Note: Pack years = number of packs smoked per day X number of years smoking.)
- You have, to your knowledge, never been diagnosed with cancer.
- You have, to your knowledge, no prior history of cancer (other than non-melanoma skin cancer) within the past five years.
If you answer “yes” to all of the questions, we recommend you contact Kay Hankins, RN, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center Lung Cancer Nurse Navigator. Kay can be reached by email or at (850) 747-7730.