At the present time, only about 15 percent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer will survive five years. However, when a cancer is diagnosed and treated at its earliest stage (Stage IA), the survival rate may be as much as 70 percent or more, especially for cancers under one centimeter in diameter.
In August 2011, a large government-funded study, called the National Lung Screening Trial, found that the use of three yearly CT scans in people without cancer symptoms but at high risk for developing lung cancer reduced the death rate from lung cancer by 20 percent compared to the use of x-ray screening. People were considered high risk if they smoked the equivalent of 30 pack-years of cigarettes for example (1 pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years), were between 55 and 74 years of age, and were still smoking or had quit within 15 years of the first screening scan.
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Saint Barnabas Medical Center are now offering a CT Lung Cancer Screening Program for individuals at high risk for developing lung cancer. Eligible participants will receive a low-dose CT scan of the chest without the use of any medications or injections. Radiation exposure from the low-dose CT scan is about equivalent to that of a mammogram and the entire visit takes about one hour.
The Lung Cancer Screening Program monitors the latest research studies and offers state-of-the-art options in lung cancer screening. If you or someone you know is a current smoker or former smoker, or if you never smoked but were exposed to secondhand smoke, you may be eligible for this potentially life-saving program. The CT scan obtained for lung cancer screening may also provide information about lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema.
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