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New Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives

November 08, 2013

For Immediate Release

Contact: Cheri Russum, Cheryl.russum@providence.org, 425-304-0591

New Low-dose CT Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives

New Diagnostic Tool Identifies Lung Cancer Early for Best Outcomes

Everett, WA – Starting November 11, Providence Regional Cancer Partnership offers a new Low-dose CT Lung Cancer Screening program for early diagnosis of lung cancer. CT lung cancer screening is a diagnostic imaging test targeted for long-time smokers, ages 55 to 79, who have a 30 “pack years” history of smoking. (Pack years are determined by the number of packs smoked per day times the number of years smoked.) The screening costs $250 and is covered by a few insurance plans.

The new Low-dose CT Lung Cancer Screening can detect lung cancer early before symptoms occur increasing the likelihood of survival. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S – more people die of lung cancer each year than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.

“Seventy-five percent of lung cancer patients are first diagnosed with advanced stage disease, which greatly reduces their chance of survival. It’s a disease that is asymptomatic, so once a patient notices symptoms the cancer has progressed significantly. Early diagnosis is key to higher survival rates. A person diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer has a 70% survival rate, while the survival rate goes down dramatically to 30% with a Stage 3 diagnosis and 0 – 2% with a Stage 4 diagnosis -- that’s why this new screening tool for early lung cancer detection is so important,” says Kimberly Costas, MD, thoracic surgeon specializing in lung cancer treatment.

Dr. Costas went on to say, “Our new CT imaging technology uses an eighth the amount of radiation as that of standard CT so there is very little risk in lung cancer screening. But, the risk of getting lung cancer for smokers is great—85% of all lung cancers are found in smokers and the remainder is caused by second-hand smoke or radon exposure. My message to smokers is ‘Quit smoking now’ and also to get screened for early detection of possible lung cancer.”

A Lung Screening Navigator is available to answer questions, explain required criteria and assist people in obtaining a physician order for the screening. The Navigator can be reached by calling 425-297-LUNG (5864). For more information on the Low-dose Lung Cancer Screening program at Providence Regional Cancer Partnership, visit www.providence.org/HealthyLungsNW.

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