November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Each year in the US, more than 228,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer. Nearly 80 percent of those diagnosed are either former smokers or never smoked a cigarette in their lives. Name, age, gender and race make no difference because lung cancer does not discriminate.
Comprehensive Cancer Screening Program
The Riverside Healthcare Lung Screening Program offers FREE lung cancer screenings for individuals at high risk. The multidisciplinary program is under the direction of Pulmonary Medicine, Radiology, Thoracic Surgery, and Oncology services. Patients are encouraged to visit www.shouldiscreen.com as a preliminary resource to assess individual lung cancer risk. Riverside’s Watseka, Coal City and Bourbonnais campuses are designated ACR Lung Cancer Screening Centers. The ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center designation is a voluntary program that recognizes facilities that have committed to practice safe, effective diagnostic care for individuals at the highest risk for lung cancer.
What to Expect
Individuals who meet high risk guidelines will meet with a lung cancer screening navigator to review personal history, a respiratory therapist to provide a pulmonary screen and discuss smoking cessation if applicable, followed by a low dose CT scan of the chest.
The CT procedure is painless and quick and free of charge to those at high risk. No drugs or injections are used. You will lie on a table which then slides through the CT scanner. You will be asked to keep very still and hold your breath for the 20 seconds of the scan. The complete procedure takes only about five minutes, including preparation and actual scan.You may be asked to allow a half hour for the appointment.
Results will be mailed to you by the lung cancer screening navigator within one week of having the exam. In some cases the results are communicated by your physician in an office visit. All results are communicated to your physician. If you don’t have a physician, Riverside Medical Center can assist you with referrals to Riverside Medical Group providers.
Follow up and Additional Testing
Depending on the results of your Screening CT, additional testing or follow up may be required. All follow- up testing can be performed at Riverside Medical center, and the Lung Screening Team will assist you through further testing or cancer treatment. Follow up tests may be covered by your insurance company. Should cancer be suspected, our team including an imaging patient navigator, pulmonologists, surgeons, oncologists and other professionals are available to guide you through the process. Abnormalities are frequently found on screening CT’s, especially in individuals who smoke. The majority of these turn out to be minor benign abnormalities, not cancer. In most cases, the only additional tests necessary are used to confirm that the findings on the scan are unchanged over time. In some cases, a course of antibiotics may be recommended if the findings appear to be related to infection or inflammation in the lungs.
How to Schedule Your Lung Cancer Screening Appointment
Riverside offers an annual CT Low Dose Lung Cancer Screening exam FREE to individuals who are considered high risk and meet Riverside’s screening criteria. Please call Riverside Outpatient Scheduling at (815) 935-7531 to assess your risks and schedule an appointment. A physician referral or self referral is acceptable for appointment scheduling. Testing can be performed at our Bourbonnais, Coal City or Watseka campuses. For more information about Riverside Healthcare’s comprehensive lung cancer screening program, visit RiversideHealthcare.org/lungcancer.