Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New lung screening option available at The University of Kansas Hospital

Longtime smokers who are at least 50 years old may qualify for a new program of discounted lung cancer screenings at The University of Kansas Hospital Indian Creek Campus, located in Overland Park, Kan., just north of I-435 on Nall Avenue.

The program begins Monday, October 22, 2012.

Physicians promise same-day results for participants with new low-dose radiation CT scans. 

Funds for the new scanning software, a nurse navigator for lung cancer and a separate fund for indigent screenings were all made possible by the 2012 Treads & Threads fundraiser at Kansas Speedway.

The cost of the screening is $240, and includes a face-to-face meeting to discuss the same-day results with the nurse navigator and coordination with the patient’s primary care physician.

Most insurance companies do not cover the cost of the screenings at this time.

The entire screening process takes about one hour.  It will include referrals to help someone to stop smoking or referrals to a pulmonologist, if results warrant.

“Lung cancer, by far, causes more cancer deaths than any other cancers worldwide, yet it is the only one not subject to routine screening,” said Terry Tsue, MD, physician-in-chief for The University of Kansas Cancer Center.  “Screening everyone for lung cancer is not effective, but studies have shown  low-dose CT screening for those at high risk can lead to early detection and lives saved.”

To qualify for the screening, Tsue said patients must be either a current or former smoker with no suspicious lung symptoms.

The University of Kansas Hospital will follow National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for those who are at high risk, Tsue added.

Those guidelines include men and women 55 to 74 years of age who have a 30-pack-year smoking history (i.e., a pack a day for 30 years or 2 packs-per-day for 15 years) and who are either still smoking or have quit within the past 15 years.

A smoker or former smoker may also qualify if they are ages 50 to 74, have smoked at least a pack a day for 20 years and have one additional risk factor such as a family or personal history of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or an occupational exposure of  known cancer-causing elements.

“Studies show one life was saved for every 320 high risk persons involved in a low-dose screening program,” noted Dr. Tsue.

To sign up for the high risk screening, call 913-588-1227.