Ocala Health
September 26, 2016

Ocala, FL - In an effort to enhance early detection of lung cancer and to reduce mortality among smokers, Ocala Health now offers low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screenings for patients who meet specific criteria. The lung screening exams are tests performed to find the disease before symptoms begin with a goal of detecting disease at its earliest and most treatable stage.

High risk individuals must meet the following screening criteria in order to be eligible for the program:

  • 55-77 years of age
  • Have at least a 30-pack year history
  • Currently smoke or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
  • Be asymptomatic (patient should not experience coughing blood or wheezing, and must not have been diagnosed with severe pulmonary disease

"The screening program is not a single test, but rather a process that is facilitated by a primary care provider. Patient and physician have a shared decision making session and, if appropriate, the patient is referred for a LDCT. If an abnormality is found, the physician may recommend a follow-up CT scan. Further steps may necessitate a PET scan or biopsy," explained Hayley Creasey, director of Ocala Health's oncology service line.

For individuals who are at-risk, the benefits of early detection far outweigh the risks of low dose radiation. Using LDCT scans to screen smokers for lung cancer reduces the risk of death by 20 percent versus those screened by a chest x-ray, according to a recent National Cancer Institute study.

LDCT screenings are covered under most insurance plans, and typically do not require a co-pay. For more information regarding the LDCT screening, please call (352) 291-6341.