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Low dose CT scan to detect lung cancer

Updated: 05/13/2014 5:54 PM
Created: 05/13/2014 2:03 PM WNYT.com
By: Benita Zahn

This is National Women's Lung Health Week and the American Lung Association is launching “Lung Force.”

The goal is to get women to stand together against lung cancer and support lung health. 

More women die from lung cancer than breast, ovarian and cervical cancers combined. 

Early detection is key to survival for both women and men and that's why Ellis Medicine just opened a comprehensive screening and treatment program. 

"Over 80 thousand people die of this cancer in America per year. If you can reduce mortality by 20% that's a lot of people," explains Dr. Chris Dolinsky, a radiation oncologist at Ellis Medicine.

That's why Ellis Medicine just opened a comprehensive lung cancer screening program - using low dose CT scans to find cancerous tumors when they're still small and more treatable.

"Research show that patients that undergo lung cancer screening with low does CT have a 20 percent decrease in mortality and overall have a better outcome with less invasive surgery and less invasive therapies," says Dr. Arets Pidwerbetsky and radiologist at Ellis and part of the screening team.

As Dr. Pidwerbetsky explains, X-rays, used years ago for screening, could miss small nodules that CT scanning can find. The lung cancer screening is not for the general public - it targets smokers or those with a history of smoking.

"We choose patients that have a 30 pack year history of smoking or a 20 year pack history of smoking and some other risk factors. And we're screening them between the ages of 55 to 74," says Pidwerbetsky.

Screening is recommended annually.

Not all nodules are cancerous so Ellis Medicine has a multi-disciplinary team to work with this patient group for further testing or treatment if cancer is diagnosed.

The $75 screening fee is generally not yet covered by insurance.

For more info on this program you can visit Ellis Medicine's website here or call 518-243-4317.

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