Lung Cancer Screenings Offered at Reduced Cost to Qualifying Patients
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Most people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older.
Many health care organizations have released recommendations for annual screenings for lung cancer. Because of these recommendations, several major health care institutions and insurance companies are working to make lung cancer screenings more affordable.
“Screening is important,” said Dr. John Beauvais, a diagnostic radiology specialist at Columbus Community Hospital. “If lung cancer is caught early, you’ll have more options for treatment. The earlier the diagnosis, the better.”
Columbus Community Hospital offers low-dose CT lung screenings to qualifying patients who have been referred by their doctor. The screenings are offered at a reduced cost of just $250 each. They’re covered by Medicare, along with most insurance companies and wellness plans.
In the last 12 months, CCH performed 113 screenings for qualifying patients.
What is Low-Dose CT Lung Screening?
In lung cancer screening, individuals who have a risk of developing lung cancer, but no signs or symptoms of the disease, may undergo low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scanning of the chest. This screening can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat.
“Most forms of lung cancer are best treated surgically,” Dr. Beauvais explained. “Your treatment depends on what stage you are when you’re diagnosed. The earlier you’re diagnosed, the better chances you have to be a surgical candidate.”
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms.
Who qualifies for LDCT Screenings?
In order to qualify for the screenings, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be age 55-77 years
- Be asymptomatic – have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer
- Have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack-years
- Be a current smoker OR quit smoking within the past 15 years
A counseling/shared decision-making session must be performed and documented prior to each screening.
If you are over the age of 77, but still meet the remaining criteria, you may be asked to fill out an advanced beneficiary notice and get billed for the screening.
When Should Screening Stop?
If you qualify for LDCT screening, yearly lung cancer screening may be recommended. Yearly screening should stop when the person being screened:
- Turns 78 years old
- Has not smoked in 15 years
- Develops a health problem that makes him or her unwilling or unable to have surgery if lung cancer is found
For more information about LDCT Screenings at Columbus Community Hospital, talk to your primary care physician or call 402-564-7118.