FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2/1/2011 4:00:00 AM
9/18/2012 6:29:21 PM
NCH program offers low-dose CT screenings to detect lung cancer sooner in high-risk smokers
Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights is among the first hospitals in the Chicago area to launch a program that provides low-dose CT lung screenings for high-risk smokers. The NCH program comes in the wake of a breakthrough national study that found that low-dose CT scans of current and former heavy smokers reduced their risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent due to earlier detection of the disease.
“For longtime heavy smokers who are worried about lung cancer, this is the first clinical trial of a screening exam showing an improvement in lung cancer mortality,” said Dr. Cliff Wolf, an NCH radiologist.
The NCH program will follow the protocols of the eight-year National Lung Screening Trial, which was conducted by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network and the National Cancer Institute. The trial involved more than 50,000 people ages 55 to 74 who had smoked at least one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years. Ex-smokers who had quit within the previous 15 years were included in the group.
“The NCH program involves similar patient eligibility, low-dose CT imaging, lung function screening, and consistent follow-up and advanced treatment if needed,” Dr. Wolf said.
Follow-up of lung nodules will adhere to the established Fleischner Society Guidelines. However, Dr. Wolf cautioned that, “The screening program and guidelines will evolve as more data is published from the National Lung Screening Trial.”
Physicians on staff at NCH continue to promote the goal of smoking cessation to their patients who are chronic smokers. The hospital’s new CT lung cancer screening program provides another opportunity for the doctor to initiate a conversation about an individual’s wellness and the importance of a non-smoking lifestyle.
Insurance currently does not cover a CT lung screening for high-risk smokers, who pay an out-of-pocket fee for the service. For more information on the NCH program, call 847.618.6572 or visit www.nch.org. To schedule a lung screening, call 847.618.3700.