The St. Francis Lung Cancer Screening Program
St. Francis offers low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening to detect lung cancer early
Until the recent use of low-dose CT scans, lung cancer typically wouldn’t be found until a person exhibited symptoms, making it more difficult to treat. St. Francis now offers annual lung cancer screenings for high-risk individuals, ages 55 to 77. These potentially life-saving screenings are covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicare.
Eligibility for low-dose CT lung screening
Your screening could be covered by insurance, if you:
- Have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years
- Fit the profile above and currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years
- Get a referral from your primary care physician
- Have no symptoms or history of lung cancer
How easy is the exam?
A low-dose CT lung cancer screening is one of the easiest exams you can take. No medications or needles are involved. You just have to be able to hold your breath for at least six seconds while the chest scan is being taken.
Follow up with your physician
While there is a 25% chance that a nodule will be detected from a lung screening, most nodules are benign. Still, you should always follow up with your referring physician after getting the results.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with the St. Francis Lung Cancer Screening Program, please call our office at: (516) 563-7115.
Generally NOT covered by most insurance plans:
- Those younger than 55 or older than 77
- Those already under treatment for cancer
- Those exhibiting new symptoms at the time of screening, such as a cough, coughing up blood, pain in the back shoulders not related to coughing, changes in your voice or hoarseness, fever, unexplained weight loss, or shortness of breath. If you have any of these symptoms, and they have not been evaluated, please contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
- Those whose health and/or lung function is so poor that lung surgery may be too risky. If you are unsure, please discuss it with your healthcare provider.
Guidance for former smokers
As a former smoker, your risk is lower than that of a current smoker, but higher than a nonsmoker. If you were a heavy smoker, especially if you started at a young age or smoked for a long time, you should have annual lung cancer screenings for at least 15 years.
The choice to quit smoking is one of the best health decisions you can make. Smoking damages nearly every organ and organ system in the body.
- Current smokers are 50% more likely to have heart problems than never smokers or former smokers.
- Smoking causes the build-up of plaque in the arteries, narrowing them.
- Smoking increases the risk of suffering a blood clot or fatal heart attack.
- Smokers who quit the habit for 15 years significantly reduce their risk of heart failure or death, new research has revealed.
15 years after quitting
Your risk of getting coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker. In addition, keep in mind the day-to-day benefits of better smelling breath, hair, and clothes. Your sense of smell and taste may also improve, and you may begin to notice less shortness of breath when doing simple activities. You will be setting a great example for other smokers who want to quit and your family and friends will be proud of your achievement, not to mention the benefits for them. In addition, you will be saving lots of money!