Owensboro Health Launching CT Screening for Lung Cancer
Study found 20 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths among current or former heavy smokers
OWENSBORO, KY (July 2, 2012) – Today, Owensboro Health begins offering screening for lung cancer that includes a short risk assessment and a low-dose CT scan. The program is fashioned after the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST)—a seven-year study that showed a 20 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths with low-dose CT (as compared to chest X-ray). The study’s findings are significant because they indicate clear evidence of considerable reduction in death with a CT screening test in a randomized, controlled trial.
The NLST, conducted by the National Cancer Institute, involved 53,454 patients and studied lung cancer deaths among current or former heavy smokers ages 55 to 74. Like the study, Owensboro Health will offer CT screening to anyone in the age group with a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years—either current or former smokers—without signs, symptoms or history of lung cancer. Unlike the study, anyone screened will not receive a chest X-ray or periodic blood and sputum tests.
Insurance companies are still evaluating whether or not to pay patients for the CT scan. Anthem has said it would pay patients who meet the criteria for screening. Owensboro Health will bill insurance providers but patients may have to pay out-of-pocket for the scan—$250 (includes radiologist’s fee).
A triage nurse in the hospital’s Call Center will guide patients through a series of questions to help determine if they meet the criteria for the screening. Patients may call 1-877-888-6647, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to speak with a nurse.