Low-dose CT screenings offer early lung cancer detection
If you're a smoker or have been one in the past, cancer may develop in your lungs regardless of whether you're experiencing symptoms like coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath.
That's why Gibbs Cancer Center has expanded its low-dose CT screening program to allow more patients an opportunity to be screened for lung cancer. A low-dose CT screening uses a low dose of radiation to conduct a scan of someone's lungs to detect cancer and takes about 10 minutes to complete.
"Fifty percent of the cancers we catch are typically early stage, stage one or two. That significantly improves your five-year survival rate, especially for lung cancer," said Chad Dingman, director of oncology support services and the Center for Integrative Medicine. "If you can catch it and catch it early, the chance of survival and greater quality of life is much better."
Low-dose CT scans are now available at six Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System locations:
North Grove office complex on Highway 9 in Spartanburg
Pelham Medical Center's Medical Office Building on Highway 14 in Greer
Pelham Medical Offices at Five Forks in Simpsonville
Spartanburg Medical Center
Cherokee Medical Center
Union Medical Center
Gibbs Cancer Center has also widened its screening criteria. People who meet the following requirements are encouraged to schedule a screening:
50-77 years old.
Currently smoke or have quit within 15 years. Only a history of cigarette smoking applies. Cigar, pipes, chewing tobacco, marijuana or electronic cigarettes do not qualify.
No signs or symptoms of lung cancer. If you experience any symptoms for an extended period, you should discuss this with your medical provider.
Have at least a 20 pack-year smoking history.
A "20 pack-year" history describes someone who has smoked a pack of cigarettes daily for 20 years.
Cherokee County has the highest percentage of people who have smoked in their lifetime in South Carolina, according to a 2017-2018 S.C. Adult Tobacco Survey from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Cherokee County also ranks third highest for counties for the most current cigarette use.
Tara Morris, a lung screening coordinator at Spartanburg Regional, suggests that those who qualify get screened annually since lung cancer can develop and spread rapidly.
"We have had several patients whose initial screening was negative, but they developed cancer that was detected on their annual screening. This is why it is important to be screened yearly for as long as you meet the criteria," Morris said.
If you meet the screening criteria, your doctor's office can call 864-560-7777 to schedule this exam.