Lung Cancer Screening Program Criteria Updated
New criteria are now in place for lung cancer screening available at Jefferson Community Health & Life. The program now uses CT scanning to screen men and women ages 50-80 with a 20-pack-year history of smoking who meet certain criteria.
“The updated guidelines from the US Preventative Services Task Force are designed to help catch more lung cancers at earlier stages, which greatly increases the chances of survival,” said Erin Starr, JCH&L Chief Nursing Officer. “The newest research shows that those who are younger and have smoked less can benefit, too.”
Previous guidelines made the screening available to those 55-74 and who had a 30-pack-year smoking history. A pack year means smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for a year. A 20-pack-year history could be met by smoking 2 packs a day for 10 years, or 1 pack a day for 20 years.
A study by the National Cancer Institute showed CT scans reduced the number of deaths from lung cancer by 20 percent. JCH&L’s program uses Low-Dose CT to screen for lung cancer for patients meeting criteria.
To qualify for a CT lung cancer screen, a patient must:
*Be 50-80 years of age
*Have a 20-pack-year smoking history
*Have a quit date within the last 15 years if they have quit smoking
*Have no weight loss greater than 10 pounds in the last month
*Have had no chest CT scan in the last 12 months
*Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer
Patients who are interested should schedule an appointment with their family medicine provider to discuss whether they meet the criteria. The family medicine provider will send an order to JCH&L radiology, and JCH&L radiology will call the patient to schedule an appointment time. Results are interpreted by a board-certified radiologist and sent to the ordering family medicine provider.
Most insurances cover the screening without a copay to those who meet the criteria. If a patient’s insurance does not cover the cost of the screening, the cost is $250, payable at the time of service.