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Lung cancer awareness month: Prevention with low-dose lung CT screenings

November is lung cancer awareness month and Cookeville Regional Medical Center offers a quick and easy way to find it early, possibly saving lives for those at high risk for developing lung cancer.

After all, lung cancer is the leading cause of death for men and women worldwide and is the top cancer the Cancer Center at Cookeville Regional Medical Center treats.

Low-dose lung CT screenings are available at CRMC for people who fall into one of two categories:

Category 1:

If you are between 55 and 77 years old

Are currently a smoker or have quit within the last 15 years and have smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 30+ years.

Category 2:

You are between 50 and 77 years old

Have smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 20+ years

Have one additional lung cancer risk factor (not to include secondhand smoke exposure)

Risk factors include having cancer in the past, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, a family history of lung cancer and exposure to certain substances, including asbestos, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, diesel fumes, nickel, radon, silica and uranium.

Screening for lung cancer is important so that issues may be caught earlier and treated while it is in the most curable stages. Of the top four deadliest cancers in the U.S. (lung, prostate, breast and colorectal), lung cancer has been the only one not subject to routine screenings until just recently. Based on the findings of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), it is now known that CT lung screenings can save lives of people at high risk for developing lung cancer. Low-dose CT lung screening is quick and easy and results in a minimal amount of radiation exposure.

To be scheduled for a screening, you will need to meet the above criteria to qualify. Talk with your primary care physician to see if you qualify. You will then need to fill out the screening questionnaire form and your physician or other primary care provider will be also be requested to fill out and sign the same forms.

To expedite the process, you may take the completed questionnaire and order form to your provider who will then complete it to be sent to CRMC when scheduling the CT scan.

Beth Slatten is the lung nurse navigator and is available to help anyone with questions.

Many commercial insurances, as well as Medicare Part B, will cover the cost of the scan once per year for patients who qualify. Since it takes pre-authorization, it may be a few days before your scan is scheduled.

If your insurance does not cover the cost or if you don’t have insurance, the cost is $99.

Visit for more information.

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