Test available to public to screen for lung cancer

Memorial Hospital offers test for $99, no insurance required

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. The earlier you catch it, the more likely you will survive.

If patients wait until they have symptoms, it's often too late. It's why people who are considered at high or moderate risk should be screened now.

CT scans are offered by Memorial Hospital to the public. You do not need insurance. It's $99 for the low-dose scan, which takes images of your lungs so radiologists can determine if there are any spots that could indicate cancer.  You do need to have certain risk factors. 

High risk:

55 years or older
Smoke 30 packs a year
Currently smoking or have quit within the past 15 years

Moderate risk:

50 years or older
Smoke 20 packs a year

One of the following risk factors:

  • Close blood relative with lung cancer
  • History of pulmonary fibrosis or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)
  • History of cancer (excluding non-melanoma of the skin)
  • Exposure to cancer causing agents such as, but not limited to: Radon and Arsenic

New technology reducing risk of lung cancer test

If a CT scan reveals a spot on a patient's lung, there is a procedure called Super Dimension that local pulmonologists can now perform, which is much less invasive.

"It gives us a road map to get peripheral outer areas of the lung and anything suspicious we want to biopsy. It gives us a direct guidance to that specific spot so we can biopsy with much more accuracy and safety," said Dr. Danny Pulido, a Jacksonville pulmonologist.

It involves running a catheter into the lung and take tissue samples. Those samples can then be tested to determine if the area of concern is malignant or benign.

We watched the procedure as it was being performed on patient Michael Provins. His smoking history puts him at high risk for lung cancer, which is why he was screened by his primary care doctor. He was referred to Pulido when a CT scan revealed a spot on his right lung.

"It's scary, it's scary. I have a 14-year-old daughter, " Michael Provins said as he talked with us about the possible outcome of the test.

"The fact that it's speculated, so there's little branches coming out of this tumor make it look like something is growing. When you see a spot like this the first thing on your mind is, could it be cancer, which is more concerning," said Pulido as he showed us Provins' CT scan results.

Pulido recommended the Super Dimension procedure to test the tissue near the spot to determine if Provins has lung cancer. He said there's only about a 2 percent risk of complications with the Super Dimension procedure as compared to another test that involves putting a needle into the chest to take a sample.

"That has a risk of 20 percent because the lung could collapse or there could be bleeding, " he said.

The other reason he recommends the procedure is it's outpatient.

"We're talking microscopic tissue sampling. It isn't cutting. It isn't surgery, this is a same day procedure," said the Jacksonville pulmonologist.

Michael Provins' test results revealed he does have lung cancer. He said he's relieved they caught it early. It's Stage One.

To learn more about the $99 CT scan offered at Memorial Hospital, click here.

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