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Lung Cancer Screenings Q&A

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November is Lung Cancer Awareness month and we want to remind you that early detection, through a screening, can save your life. Our team at the Comprehensive Lung Clinic provides rapid evaluation and treatments of lung conditions by a team of skilled specialists, working together with your primary care physician to provide you efficient, supportive and expert care.

“The Comprehensive Lung Clinic at AdventHealth Redmond is proud to be a Screening Center of Excellence by the GO2 Foundation as well as a designated Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology. These accolades highlight our commitment to providing accurate, safe, evidence-based diagnostic care for our patients,” said Lisa Acree, nurse practitioner and Comprehensive Lung Clinic navigator at AdventHealth Redmond.

Lisa Acree, ANP-BC, is a nurse practitioner and Lung Clinic navigator at AdventHealth Redmond. She encourages the Rome-Floyd community to consider a lung screening and answers some frequently asked questions.

Who should get a lung screening and why?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends yearly LDCT scans for people who:

  • Are between the ages of 50-80
  • Have a 20 pack-year or greater smoking history (ie: 1 pack daily x 20 years = 20 pack year history)
  • Are current smokers or have quit within the past 15 years

Just like other screening tests, LDCT lung screening is covered 100% by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurers. For those uninsured or underinsured, there is a self pay rate as well as screening assistance up to 100% if applicable. USPSTF lung cancer screening guidelines further recommend that annual LDCT scans should discontinue at the age of 81, or once someone hasn’t smoked for longer than 15 years, or if an emerging health problem would make treatment challenging.

What would you say to someone who is apprehensive about seeking a screening or getting answers?

Think of screening as maintenance; make a list of all the things you do to take care of yourself, and put cancer screening with them. If its anxiety about the test itself, this simple imaging test is quick, easy, and painless.

If its apprehension about the result, it’s important to remember annual lung cancer screening can help detect lung cancer in its earliest stages when potentially life-saving , curative treatment can be offered. Even if your medical team finds an issue, the earlier you discover it, the more options you have. However, if lung cancer goes unnoticed, the resulting treatment can be more serious. And the Lung Clinic at AdventHealth Redmond gets results to you within 24 hours, eliminating unnecessary wait times.

What takes place during a lung cancer screening?

Low-dose computed tomography, also known as a Low-dose CT lung screen or LDCT scan, is the only recommended screening test for the early detection of lung cancer. Your primary care provider can refer you to the Lung Screening Clinic at AdventHealth Redmond or you can self refer.

An LDCT uses a very low dose of radiation (equivalent to the amount of background radiation you’re exposed to naturally in about six months) to take highly detailed 3D pictures of your chest and lungs.

The scan is easy, painless, and over in a matter of minutes. There are no needles and no contrast to drink.

During your LDCT scan, you lie flat on your back on the scanner table, which moves you in and out of the CT machine. If you’re claustrophobic, don’t worry — the CT machine isn’t a tight, enclosed tube like an MRI machine; instead, it’s an open, round, donut-shaped X-ray machine that surrounds only the area of your body it’s scanning (your chest). The table slides you into the CT machine and begins scanning. At various points in the scanning process, we ask you to hold your breath for short intervals (about 5-10 seconds).

You won’t have any dietary or medication restrictions ahead of your appointment, and you can resume your normal activities as soon as your scan is over.

A thoracic radiologist will read and report the images the same day, and the Lung Clinic nurse practitioner will provide results within 24 hours.

What is different/special/unique about our Comprehensive Lung Clinic that you are proud of?

Personalized nurse navigation for each patient is what makes the Lung Screening Clinic at AdventHealth Redmond unique. Nurse navigation was implemented at the inception of our Comprehensive Lung Program in 2015 to provide patient-centric, efficient, multidisciplinary care. Our board certified nurse practitioner navigates patients through the entire screening process providing education, resources, and reassurance from the moment the patient arrives for screening until their result is called. Free smoking cessation classes are also offered to all patients and family members who are current smokers.

If a patient remains on yearly lung screening, the Lung Clinic reaches out to the patient and their provider the following year to reschedule.

If there is an unexpected finding, the nurse navigator collaborates with pulmonology and thoracic radiology to compassionately navigate the patient based on their own individualized plan of care with full communication with their PCP.

To make an appointment for a lung screening call Call706-368-8880.

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