New Screening Technique May Detect Lung Cancer Earlier

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death not only in the United States, but also among Hoosiers. According to the Indiana Cancer Consortium, both the incidence rate and mortality rate of lung cancer in Indiana are well above the national averages by 15 percent and 16 percent, respectively, accounting for more than 4,000 Hoosier deaths in 2008 alone.

This particular cancer is so deadly because it’s often not caught until a later stage, when the cancer has grown and spread to other parts of the body. Less than 20 percent of lung cancers are diagnosed before metastasis, when survival rates are highest – around 50 percent.

New evidence, however, from a 2011 National Cancer Institute-sponsored trial showed that low-dose computed tomography (CT) is able to detect smaller nodules in the lungs than X-rays or standard CT scans. Using this technology to detect lung cancer in its early stages resulted in a 20 percent decrease in lung cancer deaths.

We are now offering this screening for chronic smokers at IU Health University and IU Health North hospitals, as smoking contributes to 87 percent of all lung cancers. All patients will also meet with a smoking cessation specialist.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Must be older than 55
  • Must have at least a 30 pack year smoking history
    • “Pack year” is calculated by multiplying the number of cigarette packs smoked per day by the number of years spent smoking
  • If a former smoker, must not have quit more than 15 years ago
  • Must not have had a CT scan in the last 18 months

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call 1-855-293-LUNG or 317-274-LUNG.

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