Lung Cancer Screenings Can Be a Game-Changer

doctor-lung-xrayDon’t let the stigma about smoking keep you from pursuing a lung cancer screening. It might save your life, said Traves Crabtree, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in partnership with Memorial Medical Center.

Dr. Crabtree recently spoke with “Morning Newswatch” host Joey McLaughlin during a segment on WTAX radio. He shared some shocking annual statistics:

• 225,000 diagnoses of lung cancer in the United States
• 160,000 deaths from lung cancer in the United States
• 9,000 deaths from lung cancer in Illinois

“It’s the most common cause of cancer deaths in men in the United States. And it surpasses both breast cancer and colon cancer combined as the leading cause of cancer deaths in women,” Dr. Crabtree said. “Most lung cancers are associated with smoking, but the stigma makes people not realize there are opportunities to diagnose this and treat this at an even earlier stage than we used to.”

Lung cancer screenings are now available via CT scan and can provide patients with a vital head start on diagnosis and treatment.

“This is something that has really changed in the medical community in the last two years or so,” Dr. Crabtree said. “A few years ago, patients would have to pay for their own. But because of recent studies, Medicare now pays for a screening CT if you are at risk for lung cancer.”

Listen to Dr. Crabtree’s full interview on WTAX.

If you are a smoker or if you have smoked in the past, talk with your primary care provider or call 217-757-7370 for a lung cancer screening. Nurse navigators will discuss your risk factors and walk you through the process.