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New lung cancer screening may reduce mortality

lungsA new lung cancer screening program for current and former smokers is now offered by the Upstate Cancer Center and the Upstate Radiology Department. Low-dose computerized tomography scans are for smokers between the ages of 55 and 74 or former smokers who quit within the past 15 years and who have a smoking history of at least 30 pack years. (That's smoking a pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years.)

The scans cost $235 and are not covered by medical insurers. They do not require injections or medications. Lung scans can be scheduled by calling 315-464-6303; they take place after 5 p.m. Mondays, in offices at 550 Harrison St.

In addition to the scan, participants receive:

  • a professional reading and interpretation of the findings by a dedicated chest radiologist,

  • a CD with the images for the participant‘s personal records,

  • a letter to their personal physician,

  • smoking cessation counseling, and

  • referrals to other medical professionals and access to Upstate‘s multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program if anything worrisome is noticed on the scan.

Medical director Leslie Kohman MD said the program was created because of a recent landmark study showing that screening with a low-dose CT scan of the lungs can detect tumors early and can reduce lung cancer mortality by up to 20 percent for high-risk smokers and ex-smokers.

People for whom the scans are not appropriate include: those with a history of lung cancer, under treatment for any other cancers, with recent unexplained weight loss or blood in their sputum, who received antibiotic therapy for a respiratory infection within the last three months, or who have undergone a chest CT in the last 12 months.

For details or to make an appointment, call or email project manager Linda Veit at 315-464-6303 or VeitL@upstate.edu

Read the article in The Post-Standard.