St. James Hospital offering lung cancer screenings

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, February 14, 2018

LUTCHER — Several years ago, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended that private insurance companies cover annual lung cancer screenings for heavy smokers fitting certain qualifications.

St. James Parish Hospital’s Radiology Department offers these screenings locally.

The USPSTF recommends annual lung cancer screenings for individuals aged 55 to 80 who have smoked a pack or more per day for at least 30 years (or equivalent — 2 packs a day for 15 years).

This includes individuals who meet this criteria but quit less than 15 years ago.

The USPSTF estimates that 10 million Americans qualify under these guidelines.

In addition to private insurance companies, lung cancer screenings are also considered a Medicare Preventative Service — no cost to patient — if certain criteria are met for heavy smokers between the ages of 55 and 77.

Medicare Patients taking advantage of their Annual Wellness Visit are encouraged to discuss this screening, if applicable, with a Care Coordinator.

“Lung cancer screenings consist of a low-dose computed tomography or CT Scan,” St. James Hospital Radiology Director Mike Luminais said.

“This scan is quick and pain-free. We are proud to offer this screening locally and urge qualifying patients to take advantage of a no-cost screening that could possibly be lifesaving.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more people in the US die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer.

However, if found early enough, many lung cancers can be cured.

The hospital urges current or previous smokers who may fall into these categories to contact their primary care physician’s office for more information.

Those with orders who would like to schedule the annual lung cancer screening can contact the Radiology Department at 225-258-5953.