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New Screenings Can Catch Cancer Early

March 16, 2018
According to the American Cancer Society, "lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined."

If you are a patient at GBMC, we are working with you to make sure you are not one of these statistics.

For patients who meet certain criteria, a special CAT scan of the chest, a "low dose CAT scan," (LDCT) can be scheduled as it may detect early lung cancer in a curable state.

If a patient,
1. Has a history of smoking that equates to a 30-pack-year history (ex.: smoked on average one pack per day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years, etc.)
2. Is between 55 - 80 years old
3. Is a current smoker or person who has quit only within last 15 years, studies have shown screening can improve survival by detecting lung cancer early.

Patients are not required to submit to the screening, but since implementation in October 2017, we have been able to identify lesions earlier than a chest X-ray in some patients and start them on a treatment plan earlier.

Primary care providers, pulmonologists and oncologists at GBMC now have an "alert" in our electronic medical record system, Epic, that indicates a particular patient meets the criteria and a LDCT should be considered.

Smoking cessation is, of course, always part of the discussion. But when screening is determined necessary, Advanced Radiology performs the study through a partnership with GBMC physicians, and the order for the test can be placed promptly via the patient's Epic record. Reminders are then automatically sent to the patient if follow-up testing is needed in the future.

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