HEALTHWATCH: New Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines


Published 07/24 2014 06:18PM

Updated 07/24 2014 06:44PM

CHICAGO (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Each year lung cancer kills half of those diagnosed and more people than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.  Unlike these other cancers, there's been no medical agreement on early detection screening for lung cancer. 

However, the findings of a national cancer institute trial have resulted in new screening recommendations, and new hope for the seven million American's who are at high risk for lung cancer.

CT scans have become a yearly ritual for Jody Wilson. After a severe and continuous cough, doctors diagnosed and cured her lung cancer.

"I was absolutely sure if the cancer came back I would know, and I didn't." Wilson told Ivanhoe.

In 2011, Wilson had no symptoms but doctors found a new cancer in her good lung.  Researchers are just now discovering the importance of low-dose radiation chest CT scans in the early detection of lung cancer.

The national cancer institute study shows a 20 percent decrease in mortality compared to x-ray screening.

The new CT scan recommendations address individuals at high risk for lung cancer.  For example, those who are 55 to 75 years old, those who smoke or have quit within 15 years and those who smoked at least pack a day for a total of 20 to 30 years. 

Avnit Kapur, MD, Diagnostic Radiologist at Weiss Memorial Hospital Chicago is optimistic about the tests.

"If the cancer is found early it can be treated, it can be cured." Dr. Kapur told Ivanhoe.

Wilson says she understands people's hesitation but she's living proof of the benefit of getting tested.

Currently, many insurance companies are not covering the low-dose chest CT scans for lung cancer screening, however some hospitals do offer affordable CT scans for about $200.

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