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Tri-County Health Care introduces lung cancer screenings

Tri-County Health Care was recently accredited by the American College of Radiology as a Lung Cancer Screening Center. As a result, it now offers a screening test for lung cancer, according to a news release from TCHC.

The test uses low doses of radiation and a computed tomography (CT) machine to scan the body and capture detailed pictures of the lungs. Medicare covers this annual screening.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., with approximately 160,000 people dying from it each year. About 90 percent of the people who have lung cancer die from the disease, in part because it often isn't found until it is at an advanced stage. Smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer. About 85 percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. A pack year is smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year.

The most common type of lung cancer — non-small cell — can sometimes be cured if it is found early enough.

Evidence suggests that screening detects approximately one half of lung cancer cases at an early stage at which treatment is an option.

"Lung screening has a proven effective result," said Denise Haglund, radiology manager. "For the patient, it's an easy thing to do. It takes less than 10 minutes. There's no IV or prep. You just come in and lie down. You're in, you're out."

If you would like more information or if you believe you meet the criteria, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your provider to discuss your options.

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