(O’FALLON, IL) – Despite nationwide decreases in smoking over the decades, it still remains the country’s leading cause of preventable disease. For current smokers or those who have recently quit, an easy test can further detect lung cancer in its earlier stages, and it is available right here in the local community.
Early detection saves lives. HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital encourage smokers to make a 2020 New Year’s resolution to schedule a quick and painless low-dose CT lung scan for the early diagnosis of lung cancer. Studies show that 75% of lung cancer patients are first diagnosed with advanced-stage disease, which greatly reduces their chance of survival.
The goal of the screening program is to detect cancer at an early stage, even before someone has symptoms. At an early stage, surgery or other treatment options are possible and the cure rate can be much higher.
The screening is a non-invasive low dose CT scan that can detect nodules or spots on your lung, which might be early indicators of lung cancer. The CT imaging technology uses an eighth of the radiation as that of a standard CT so there is very little risk in lung cancer screening.
Anyone interested in being screened should talk to their physician about the screening criteria, potential benefits, limitations, and possible risks of having a lung cancer screening. If a person has one or more of the following risk factors, they are encouraged to talk to their physician about getting screened immediately:

  • Be age 55-74 years of age.

  • Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer.

  • Have a history of smoking at least a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.

  • Be current smokers or have quit smoking within the last 15 years.

Lung cancer continues to be one of the most common cancers worldwide, claiming more lives yearly than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. It is estimated that lung cancer accounts for nearly one in five cancer deaths globally. 
The most important factor in preventing lung cancer is to not smoke at all or for those who do smoke to start a smoking cessation program to help them quit immediately. This is important for the smoker and for those around them who can also be affected by secondhand smoke. About 85% of all lung cancers are found in smokers and the remainder is caused by secondhand smoke exposure.
Lung cancer is, unfortunately, one of those diseases where symptoms may not present until the late stages, when treatment options are limited, and the survival rate is very low. Early symptoms include:

  • A cough that is getting worse and lasts for weeks

  • Coughing up blood or dark phlegm

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Hoarseness in the voice

  • Pain in bones

  • Unintentional weight loss

For more information on the low dose lung cancer screening at St. Elizabeth’s, visit steliz.org/Medical-Services/Imaging/Lung-Cancer-Screening.

Media Contact

Kelly Barbeau

Manager, Marketing & Communications
HSHS Illinois
Office: (618) 234-2120, Ext. 41270

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