Posted 12/28/2016

Murray-Calloway County Hospital is launching an effort to implement lung cancer screenings.
The lung cancer screening program at Murray-Calloway County Hospital offers those with a high risk of developing lung cancer the opportunity to be screened for lung cancer with the latest in 3-dimensional Computed Tomography (CT) imaging. This allows patients to receive their diagnosis at an early stage, even before symptoms develop. Early detection alone can save up to 20,000 lives each year, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.  

Benefits and Risks of Low Dose CT Lung Screening
Any exposure to ionizing radiation carries some inherent risk. Before undergoing a low dose screening chest CT, you should understand the potential risks and benefits of the exam and discuss them with your physician. Low dose chest CT results in an average approximately one quarter dose of a conventional chest CT. MCCH has a dose modulation package installed on their CT that further reduces radiation to the patient.

Without screening, many lung cancers diagnosed are not able to be surgically removed due to their advanced stage. Over 50% of lung cancers could be cured if they were caught at an early stage. With the leadership of local physicians and hospital administration, we have started a process that is designed to diagnose patients when there is hope for a cure.

"Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans and appropriate follow-up care significantly reduces lung cancer deaths," said Heidi Hordyk, R.T., CNMT, MBA, Director of Radiology. "Early detection of any cancer or disease is critical, especially for those at high risk," added Hordyk. "This program is the most effective way to identify tumors and reduce lung cancer deaths."

Medicare eligibility requirements for lung cancer screening:

• Age 55-77 years 
• Asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer) 
• Tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack-years.
A pack year is calculated as follows:

Packs/day (20 cigarettes/packs):______ x Years smoked: ______ = Pack years*:______ 
• Current smoker or one who has quit smoking within the last 15 years 
• Written physician order 

Other insurance companies may have different criteria for covering lung cancer screening. Check with your insurance provider for more information.

Over 50% of lung cancers could be cured if they were caught at an early stage.

Five year survival rate is less than 5% when diagnosed as advanced Stage IV lung cancer.

Currently, Medicare and most if not all insurance carriers are now covering the cost of low dose chest CT lung screening for patients who meet the eligibility requirements. In order to be effective at detecting cancer and reducing mortality, screening is recommended on an annual basis. If insurance coverage is not available, a reduced pre-paid cash price option is offered at the time of service. Radiologist interpretation fees will be billed separately.

How do I schedule this exam?
If you feel that you could benefit from lung screening, talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about lung cancer CT screening. The exam requires a written physician order and can be scheduled by the provider’s office.

The team at Murray-Calloway County Hospital will work closely with each patient to ensure qualifying guidelines are met along with validation of insurance coverage.

For more information about the lung cancer screening program at Murray-Calloway County Hospital, contact Marketing at 270.762.1381.

*Pack year calculator