Adena Health System has extended its successful free lung cancer screening program indefinitely. Created as a one-month, free screening to promote Lung Cancer Awareness last November, the overwhelming response made it clear there was a tremendous need to continue offering screenings at no cost to individuals meeting high-risk criteria. The free screening program was first extended through 2013, then to April 2014 and now remains available to high-risk individuals at any time.
“The response to the free lung cancer screening has been great,” said Adena President and CEO Mark Shuter. “There is a huge need for this kind of service in our community. Thanks to Adena’s free screening program, patients who may not have come in for a screen are being diagnosed earlier, which is critical in their chances of surviving this disease.”
To date, more than 470 people have come to Adena for a free lung cancer screening since the program began in Nov. 2014. Several have been diagnosed with lung cancer and have or are currently undergoing treatment.
“We have a high rate of lung cancer in Southern Ohio,” said Adena Cancer Center Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey VanDeusen. “There is no doubt that early detection saves lives. Adena is doing the right thing for the community by providing this free screening, as well as smoking cessation counseling.”
Lung cancer screening is a simple, painless, low dose CT chest scan. In addition to lung cancer, the screens at Adena have found a number of heart issues including aneurysms, and even a case of breast cancer.
Patients who benefit most from lung cancer screening are: between the ages of 55-74; still smoking or quit smoking fewer than 15 years ago; and have 30 “pack years” of smoking in their recent or distant past. A “pack year” is calculated by taking the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day and multiplying it by the number of years the person smoked. Therefore, a two-pack a day smoker, who smoked for 15 years is considered a 30-pack year smoker and should be tested. With early screening and detection, those in the screening population who are without symptoms, have a lung cancer survival rate of up to 80 percent.
All patients who have been scanned receive a reminder when it’s time for their annual screening. “It’s important for those who fall into this high risk category to be tested every year,” added Dr. VanDeusen. “The screening should be part of a patient’s yearly prevention and wellness plan.”
Anyone interested in having a free lung cancer screening may call (740) 542-LUNG (5864).