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Reduce Cost: CT Lung Screening

Those who have ever smoked significantly can never escape that nagging question in the back of their minds. "Will I get lung cancer?"

In response to recently published National Lung Screening Trial results, which demonstrate a clear advantage to high-risk individuals, Torrance Memorial Medical Center's Thoracic Oncology Program has launched a reduced-cost CT Lung Screening Program to enhance early detection and treatment of lung disease.

The cost of the non-contrast CT screening exam is $350 and is the responsibility of the patient since proactive CT screening is not a covered benefit. Ordinarily CT scans cost thousands of dollars, which is usually covered by private insurance when ordered after an adverse event is suspected. Under the new program, the screenings are suggested for asymptomatic individuals ages 50 to 74 who have a significant smoking history. A physician referral is required.

"By the time the patient experiences symptoms, the cancer is already advanced. There is a much greater chance of success if it's caught early," said John Stoneburner, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon for the Thoracic Oncology Program at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. "It's a simple step to take for immeasurable peace of mind."

Those who have been exposed to significant second-hand smoke, may also want to consider testing. Patients with persistent lung symptoms, e.g., cough, hemoptysis or unexplained weight loss, should be referred to a pulmonologist for imaging as part of a diagnostic work-up.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine showed CT screenings for smokers and former heavy smokers reduced the death rate from lung cancer 20 percent.

All patients who undergo CT screening will receive follow up by the Torrance Memorial Cancer Resource Center nurse navigators that includes education on the importance of physician follow up and smoking cessation, as appropriate. To learn more about the benefits and risks of the screening process, call 310-517-4665 or click here.

Categories: Health Tip,News

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