Lung cancer screening now available

Nov 5,2012
For decades, lung cancer has mostly been discovered in its later stages, making it the number one cancer killer in the United States. Recent research shows that a new system of screening can catch lung cancer early, significantly increasing the ability to treat it — and adding years onto peoples’ lives.

“We’ve been waiting for a long time — too long — for an acceptable method to screen for lung cancer before symptoms appear,” said George Giacoppe, MD, a pulmonologist at Samaritan Albany Pulmonology. “Research shows that if we can find lung cancer in stage I, the cure rate is 80 to 90 percent.”

Giacoppe explained that the screening involves performing a low dose computed tomography (CT) scan on a patient for a baseline reading, then monitoring and rescreening the patient over a period of years. “This allows us to  watch closely for any type of change in the lungs, no matter how small,” said Giacoppe.

The screening, which is appropriate for anyone age 55 to 75 who has smoked for a significant number of years, costs $199 and is typically not reimbursed by insurance carriers. Eligible patients must meet certain criteria and agree to clinical study requirements. 

The screening is performed at Samaritan Albany Pulmonology, as part of the Samaritan Lung Cancer Program. For more information, call (541) 812-5877.

November is lung cancer awareness month.