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9 things to know about lung cancer screenings

  1. It’s simple, noninvasive, quick and highly effective in finding lung cancer early—when it’s most treatable—in high risk patients. 

  2. The screening is done using a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan that shows a cross section of the body more clearly than a standard X-ray.

  3. Studies show 20 percent fewer deaths among heavy smokers who were screened.

  4. The low-dose CT scan itself takes less than three minutes and should cause no discomfort.

  5. Primary care and other medical providers can provide lung cancer screening referrals for their patients who are current or former heavy smokers and considered high risk.

  6. Medicare and most private insurance companies provide coverage for the cost of screening high risk patients.

  7. It’s highly effective but patients who smoke should be strongly counseled to quit smoking--quitting is the most effective way to reduce the risk of lung cancer. Many medical centers have smoking cessation programs to support patients who want to quit, contact your medical provider for further information.

  8. Massachusetts residents can call the smokers’ helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free one-on-one support and information about how to quit.

  9. Wellforce partners,Tufts Medical Center, Lowell General Hospital, MelroseWakefield Hospital, Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Tufts MC Cancer Center in Stoneham, teamed up to offer the Comprehensive Thoracic Program and help diagnose and treat lung cancer and other diseases.
Patients are considered high risk if they are current or former heavy smokers. Speak with your medical provider about whether you are considered high risk for lung cancer and if lung cancer screening is right for you.