Lung Cancer Screening Grant
Mercy Hospital, through the collaboration of Mercy Portland Thoracic Surgery and Mercy Radiology has been offering a comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program for people at high risk since March of 2013. In January 2015 Free ME from Lung Cancer received a grant in the amount of $15,000 from the Maine Cancer Foundation to help promote and support early detection programs.
Free ME From Lung Cancer is collaborating with Mercy Hospital and Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) to support their early detection program at no cost to qualified patient while funds are available.
The screening is offered at Mercy’s American College of Radiology Lung Cancer Screening Center designated site, the Howard K and Verna E Dearborn Imaging Center located at the Mercy Fore River Imaging Center. It includes a low-dose CT scan, immediate interpretation by a Mercy Radiologist and smoking cessation counseling if appropriate. The procedure is non-invasive, requires no preparation and takes no more than thirty minutes from start to finish.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. and kills more people than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Currently, Maine has a higher incidence of lung cancer and mortality than the national average. Screening with low-dose CT imaging has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer. Data from a large scale government backed study found a 27% overall relative risk reduction and a 20% risk reduction in mortality related to lung cancer alone. Due to the positive benefits recognized for the screening the study was terminated two years earlier than planned.
Individuals who are 55-79 and have a 30-pack year history (average number of packs smoked daily multiplied by the number of years of active smoking) of smoking or have stopped smoking fewer than 15 years ago are considered high risk for lung cancer. Those who fall into this risk category are encouraged to talk with their doctor about being tested at Mercy.
“I am encouraged that this grant will help to detect lung cancer early and avoid more invasive treatment procedures that would otherwise be necessary if diagnosed in later stages.” said Deb Violette, President and CEO of Free ME from Lung Cancer.
To help determine if you are appropriate for lung cancer screening, contact your primary care provider. Physician offices may call Mercy scheduling at 879-3737 to schedule.