FARGO – The American Lung Association wants people with a higher risk of lung cancer to know that they can be screened with low-dose computed tomography that diagnoses cancer earlier and provides better survival
It is the deadliest form of cancer in United States is responsible for one of four cancer deaths.
A low-dose CT scan is a special kind of X-ray image that takes multiple images when a person lies on it, a table that slides in and out of the machine. (It's not a tight fit like some MRI machines.) A computer then combines the images into a detailed image of the lungs.
A study on early detection of lung cancer found that only the low-dose CT scan can lower mortality for high-risk individuals.
However, one problem in the upper Midwest is that there are not many screening facilities. North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota are all located in the lower half of the states with available screening centers, according to a study released by the association earlier this year.
South Dakota had the lowest rating ranked 50 out of 50 states District of Columbia. North Dakota was 44, and Minnesota was 34. The three states also have some of the highest number of new cases with Minnesota Ninth, North Dakota 1
Pat McKone, of Duluth, Minnesota, and a senior regional Director of Tobacco Control and Advocacy for the Lung The report, published in a press release in 1965, was the first of its kind to get the disease under control and raise awareness.
She said that in Minnesota, an estimated 4,000 people will contract lung cancer this year and 2,400 will die. In North Dakota, an estimated 500 people are diagnosed with lung cancer, 300 of which succumb to the disease, while South Dakota is estimated to have 650 people and 400 lives.
"More needs to be done to save lives." McKone said.
Jill Thompson, manager of the regional communications department of the Federation, urges people to go to a links website called savedbythescan.org. This has a simple test to identify people who are at high risk and should definitely be scanned, along with insurance and payment answers and where some facilities are located.
Thompson said for most high-risk people, Medicare or insurance companies will usually pay for the scan, though that depends on coverage plans and the possibility of co-pay.
Once scheduled, the examination usually only takes minutes, she said, with a report sent to the person's doctor.
Individuals especially urged to get a scan are those who have smoked a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years. However, Thompson points out that areas with high radon rates can also pose a high risk.
"In the past week just one study came out that younger white and Hispanic women who smoke have a higher lung development risk for cancer, it's not known why that is," she said.
Thompson also said a report last year found that the main reason why those at high risk for lung cancer are not screened is that their doctor never recommended them
although they potentially save their lives 41 percent of high-risk former or current smokers plan no pre-examination.