New Low Dose Lung Cancer Screenings Available at CCHS

March 4, 2019

For Immediate Release

New Low Dose Lung Cancer Screenings Available at CCHS

ATLANTIC – A new lung cancer screening test is now available at Cass County Health System. To detect potential lung cancers, patients can undergo a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan in the Diagnostic Imaging department.

“Much like a mammogram screens patients for breast cancer, we use a low-dose CT scan to check patients for lung cancer,” said Carrie Schmitt, Director of Diagnostic Imaging at Cass County Health System.

The lower dose of radiation received during this annual screening makes it safer for the patient. “Everyone is exposed to natural radiation from the environment, and patients are exposed to small doses of radiation during some imaging tests like x-rays. By using a lower dose of radiation during the test, we’re exposing the patient to a smaller amount of radiation than during a typical CT procedure. This is good because we want to keep your lifetime exposure to radiation at the lowest level possible,” said Carrie.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women. Every year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. For 2019, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates there will be about 228,150 new cases of lung cancer in men and women in the United States. Additionally, lung cancer was predicted to cause about 142,670 deaths nationwide.

“This screening is particularly important for patients who smoke or smoked heavily,” said Carrie. The lifetime risk of developing lung cancer is about 1 in 15 for men and about 1 in 17 for women; but for smokers, the risk is much higher.

Patients should be between the ages of 55 and 77, have no symptoms of lung cancer, have no history of lung cancer, currently smoke or quit less than 15 years ago, and have a pack-year score of greater than 30. (Pack-years are calculated by multiplying the number of years smoked by the average number of packs smoked per day.)

If patients think they may qualify for low-dose CT lung cancer screenings, they should talk to their primary care provider.