Currently, one in 15 people in the United States can expect to receive a lung cancer diagnosis during their lifetimes. With this distressing statistic, it’s good to know there’s help available at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) for people at higher risk for lung cancer.
During Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November – and all year – YRMC is highlighting low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). Heavy, long-term smokers, current smokers, or people with a family history of lung cancer have lung cancer screening LDCT available at:
- Prescott Medical Imaging (PMI)
- Prescott Valley Medical Imaging (PVMI)
- YRMC East in Prescott Valley
Why is Lung Cancer Screening Important?
Lung cancer often has no symptoms. Because of this, it can spread outside of the lungs before it is detected. It’s important to get screened even if you don’t have symptoms. The benefit of early detection is finding a cancer before it has a chance to spread. The earlier cancer is detected, the more likely it is treatable.
Should You be Screened for Lung Cancer?
LDCT is part of Lung Cancer Screening and Care at YRMC. To be eligible for the Medicare-sponsored screening you must be:
- Between the ages of 55-77
- Free of cancer symptoms
- Either currently smoking or a past smoker who quit 15 years ago or less
- A heavy smoker averaging one pack per day for 30 years or two packs per day for 15 years
People are encouraged to talk with their primary care providers to determine if they are eligible for the screening program.
A Team Approach
Lung Cancer Screening and Care at YRMC uses a team approach that draws on the skills of primary care providers, pulmonologists, procedural pulmonologists, radiologists and a cardiothoracic surgeon.
A Lung Cancer Screening and Care patient navigator serves as a patient contact. This healthcare professional answers questions about eligibility and directs patients to the appropriate provider if specific care is required. The patient navigator also can help people determine if their current insurance plan covers the screening or assist people who would like to undergo the exam using the self-pay option YRMC offers.
A Prevention Plan
LDCT is not a one-time screening test. Annual follow-up screening is recommended for patients whose initial screenings do not show signs of lung cancer.
If a patient’s LDCT findings are suspicious, a follow-up scan may be scheduled. A biopsy may also be recommended, in which case the patient would be referred to a procedural pulmonologist or a radiologist, depending on the location of the lung nodule. If surgery is needed, the YRMC Lung Cancer Screening and Care team also includes a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Learn More About LDCT
For more information about LDCT, talk to your primary care provider and visit YRMC.org/Services (Lung Cancer Screening and Care).
Need help giving up smoking? Contact the ASHLine, Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (1-800-556-6222), for free assistance.