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News: Free CT lung screenings continue through April

ct lung

A promotion that Centegra Health System developed in recognition of November’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month has provided 336 community members free screenings to detect lung cancer and other related illnesses. Of these screenings, 146 people received a diagnosis or were asked to return for more imaging in the future because of abnormal findings.

As of March 11, 336 people had received the free low-dose CT lung screenings. Results included:

  •  27 positive (highly suspicious) findings
  •  39 patients require follow-up care in either three, six, nine or 12 months
  •  58 patients were diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension/fibrosis
  •  74 patients received a diagnosis of coronary artery disease or suspicious aneurysm
  •  23 patients had other findings
  •  11 patients needed PET CTs
  •  Six patients needed biopsies
  •  Six patients needed other procedures/tests
  •  Five patients had endobronchial lesions
  •  Two patients needed surgery
  • Two patients needed chemotherapy or radiation therapy

“In McHenry County where lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer-related cause of death, the screenings may help us find lung cancer early,” said Dr. Spiro Gerolimatos, an independent radiologist at Centegra Health System. “This is especially important because lung cancer does not have symptoms. It usually spreads before it is found.”

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says low-dose CT lung screenings may prevent as many as 20 percent more deaths from lung cancer than chest X-ray screenings. In 2011, 55 percent of lung cancer diagnoses at Centegra Hospital-McHenry and 51 percent at Centegra Hospital-Woodstock were found in the most advanced stage of cancer.

CT lung screening is not for everyone. Only heavy smokers between the ages of 55 and 74 who have smoked one pack per day for 30 years or two packs per day for 15 years should receive low-dose CT lung screenings. A physician order is needed for the screening.

Centegra will continue to offer the free CT lung screenings through the end of April. For more information visit centegra.org/lungscreening or call 815-334-5566 to schedule a screening.