In a recent blog, Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, said that 2015 was a game changing year for lung cancer.
His announcement is timely and significant because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the United States.
Wimmer said what we currently know about lung cancer is that early detection and new targeted therapies are key to saving lives. Medicare coverage of low-dose CT screening for lung cancer and the development of immunotherapy drugs have created a new wave in lung cancer detection and treatment.
In 2015, access to low-dose CT screenings was improved in February when Medicare announced it would bring the benefit of screening to approximately five million American seniors at no cost. Together with an earlier decision that requires most private insurance plans to cover screening for high-risk individuals, more lung cancer cases will be detected at earlier stages, when curative treatment options are available. If only half of everyone at high risk was screened for lung cancer, it is estimated that we could save over 13,000 lives each year.
Low-dose CT screenings are recommended for people who are at high risk for lung cancer: ages 45-80, currently smoke or quit smoking in the last 15 years. Studies show that screenings can reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer in both current and former heavy smokers between ages 55 to 80 by up to 20 percent.
Community Medical Center, a Member of the Barnabas Health System, is offering a free low-dose CT screening for individuals who are high-risk for developing lung cancer to identify abnormalities earlier. The scan only takes a few minutes and can save your life. Program participants are also eligible for free smoking cessation counseling. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please click here.