New Screening Program Available to Smokers

(Oneida, NY – Jan. 2013) The Oneida Healthcare recently announced a new screening program aimed specifically at current and former smokers.  A recent study by the National Cancer Institute showed low-dose CT screening of high-risk current or former smokers can cut the death rate from lung cancer by 20 percent.

“The objective of the hospital’s new Lung Cancer Screening Program is to detect lung cancer at its earliest stage, when it’s most curable, even if there are no obvious symptoms,” said Barbara Gerow, manager of Oneida Healthcare’s radiology services.

According to Gerow, participants receive a low-dose CT scan that can be scheduled Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; a professional reading and interpretation of the CT scan by a trained chest radiologist; a report sent for review to a specialized surgeon who will personally contact the patient to discuss the findings; a duplicate report sent to the primary care physician; a CD with the images for personal records; free smoking cessation counseling by a certified smoking cessation counselor is available and a reminder in one year to schedule another scan if desired.

There is a $235 cost for the screening, which is payable at the time of service. The service is not yet covered by insurances, but Gerow said that could change in the future as it becomes more widely used.

Screening candidates must be between 55 and 74 years of age, be a current or former cigarette smoker of at least one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years or have a family history of lung cancer.

Acknowledging that some people might prefer not to know if there’s a problem, Gerow stressed the importance of catching lung cancer as early as possible.

“If there is something, hopefully we’ve found it in time and it’s treatable, or if everything looks good, I guess you can look at it as pretty inexpensive peace of mind,” Gerow said.

Anyone interested in Oneida Healthcare’s Lung Cancer Screening Program can get more information or schedule an appointment by calling 315.361.2035.

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