Area residents who need to be screened for lung cancer have access to a Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center at Starke Hospital in Knox. The American College of Radiology recently awarded that designation to the local facility after a voluntary rigorous review to ensure it meets or exceeds high standards.
Starke Hospital is already accredited for CT chest imaging by the ACR. That’s a requirement to become a designated lung cancer screening center.
Interim CEO Jeff Vice says the designation showcases the superior quality of Starke Hospital’s lung cancer screening program and is a testament to the hard work of the professionals in the diagnostic imaging department. He adds it’s a win for the community to have a designated program available so close to home. The certification is based on nationally-recognized guidelines and technical standards.
Starke Hospital invested in a new CT scanner in 2015. It provides high-quality images while using the lowest dose of radiation possible.
In Starke County an estimated 23 percent of adults smoke, according to University of Wisconsin County Health Rankings. Former smokers or people who live with smokers could also be at risk for lung cancer. It is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and is responsible for more deaths annually than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined. Lung cancer is second only to heart disease in the number of deaths caused annually.
Starke Hospital Director of Diagnostic Imaging Josephine Klicek says a CT scan to screen for lung cancer requires a doctor’s order. She adds the test is easy, painless and potentially life-saving. That’s because it can detect lung cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage.
Patients must meet certain criteria for CT lung cancer screening, and Medicare as well as most insurance companies will cover the screening if patients are eligible.
Criteria for CT lung cancer screening are as follows:
- Age 55 to 77 years old
- Asymptomatic – no signs or symptoms of lung cancer
- History of tobacco smoking of at least 30 pack-years (one pack-year is the same as smoking one pack per day for one year; one pack equals 20 cigarettes)
- Current smokers or those who have quit smoking within the last 15 years; AND
- A written order for a low dose CT lung cancer screening from a qualified health professional following a lung cancer screening counseling and shared decision making visit.
Candidates cannot have signs or symptoms of lung cancer to qualify for a lung cancer screen.