Canton-Potsdam Hospital now offering low-dose lung cancer screenings
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 9:18 am

Tod Robertson, radiology technologist, and Stacie Woodward, director of the imaging department, discuss the low-dose CT scan with a patient.

POTSDAM -- Canton-Potsdam Hospital now offers low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan screening for lung cancer.

The hospital is promoting the scans as a diagnostic tool of particular use to long-term tobacco smokers.

For a fee of $200 participants will receive a scan, a reading and interpretation by a licensed radiologist, and a CD-rom with images. The reading also includes a follow-up phone call and letter to the personal practitioner, free smoking-cessation counseling, and referrals to other medical professionals as needed.

Insurance does not yet cover this preventive screening.

Low-dose CT scanning is the most effective early detection tool for lung cancer, according to a letter sent by Stacie Woodward, director of imaging, to local medical practitioners.

Lung cancer affects a disproportionate number of St. Lawrence County residents compared to the rest of the state and nation, Woodward said.

“A low-dose chest CT scan can detect lung nodules years before they would ever be seen on a regular chest x-ray. A recent landmark study has shown that screening, using a low-dose CT scan in smokers and ex-smokers can detect and reduce lung cancer mortality by up to 20 percent,” she said.

The scan is appropriate only for current or former cigarette smokers who are between the ages of 55 and 75 years, with 30 pack-years of smoking history. Pack-years are packs per day multiplied by the number of years smoking.

Former cigarette smokers who have quit within the previous fifteen years are also eligible.