Mather Offers Free Lung Cancer Screenings to High Risk Smokers and Former SmokersJanuary 22, 2014
Free lung cancer screenings using low dose CT scans are now available at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital for high risk smokers and former smokers. If lung cancer is diagnosed early there is a higher rate for successful treatment and survival.
Individuals should consider having a screening if they are 55 to 74 years old and have smoked for 30 pack years or more and currently smoke or quit within the last 15 years. Pack years are calculated by multiplying the average number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years a person has smoked. Lung cancer is the leading single cancer killer in the U.S. and cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor in the development of lung cancer.
Smokers and former smokers should talk to their primary care physician to see if they qualify for a free screening. If you qualify, you will be given a prescription for the CT scan and asked to contact Mather’s Lung Cancer Screening Program at 631-686-2500 to schedule a low dose CT scan.
A national study found that patients who were diagnosed by screening with a low dose CT scan had a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths as compared to those screened with standard chest x-ray. An influential panel of medical experts has recommended annual lung cancer screenings for high risk smokers and former smokers. The panel estimated the screenings could prevent as many as 20,000 deaths a year.
Mather’s board certified radiologists use an advanced 320-slice CT scanner to perform the test at the lowest possible radiation dose. Mather records and provides you with a copy of your radiation dose. Should you need to return to Mather for another CT scan, we record that dose and track your cumulative exposure. Further, we are accredited by the American College of Radiology and The Joint Commission, a national organization that assesses healthcare provider quality and patient safety.
A suspicious nodule detected by the screening does not necessarily indicate lung cancer. According to current studies more than 95 percent of initially suspicious lung nodules are non-cancerous. Based on the findings, you may be referred to a specialist even if the diagnosis is not lung cancer.
Mather’s Lung Cancer Screening Program features a nurse navigator who serves as a liaison between you, community physicians and radiologists and helps facilitate additional testing, appointments and follow-up, if necessary. For more information, contact Nurse Navigator Eileen Zaoutis, RN, at 631-686-2500.
John T. Mather Memorial Hospital is an accredited 248-bed, non-profit community hospital dedicated to providing a wide spectrum of high quality healthcare services to Suffolk County residents, showing compassion and respect and treating each patient in the manner we would wish for our loved ones.