Lung cancer is the number-one killer form of cancer in Indiana and the nation, and the American Lung Association has now made available a new online screening tool to help people determine if they should get a low-dose scan for the disease.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Gore, a radiation oncologist, low-dose screening can save lives.
"They're quick, simple, sensitive scans to pick up lung nodules or early cancer in patients who are at high risk for lung cancer," she said. "So you're getting a relatively low dose of radiation, different from a diagnostic scan, but it serves the purpose of screening for nodules."
You can take the online screening at LungCancerScreeningSavesLives.org.
Gore said the online assessment tool takes visitors through a series of questions that help determine if they meet guidelines for the low-dose screening. Anyone can take the assessment, but Gore said certain people should make it a point to do it.
"People who are at high risk for lung cancer, including people who have at least a 30-pack-per-year history of smoking; they're older than 50."
Medical experts believe by screening at-risk individuals, as many as 3,000 to 4,000 deaths could be prevented each year. Gore said the earlier the cancer is detected, the better the chance of saving a life, and that the new online tool will literally be a life-saver.
"I think it's very valuable," she declared. "It gets people online; it gets them to assess the risk of lung cancer and determine whether they should have a CT scan or see their physician. Also for people who are smokers it's a terrific starting point to access some of the other tools to help them quit smoking and generally improve their overall health."
The American Lung Association also provides a toll-free line called the Lung HelpLine which can help answer questions about lung health or CT screenings at 800-LUNG-USA.