Affordable, Effective Lung Cancer Screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center

Affordable, Effective Lung Cancer Screening at Lexington Diagnostic CenterIt should come as no surprise that Kentucky leads the nation in lung cancer deaths, especially when you consider another dubious distinction the Commonwealth holds: the highest smoking rates in the nation.

Because smoking is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer, the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer is to stop smoking. The minute you stop smoking, your body begins to heal and your risk starts to fall. Within two months of stopping, your lung function begins to improve; after 10 years, your risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer is 30 to 50 percent of that of a smoker.

Regardless of whether you’ve recently quit smoking, you quit five years ago, or you continue to smoke, as they age, most people begin to think about their lungs and the damage they’ve inflicted by smoking. Unfortunately, there hasn’t always been a good way to detect lung cancer early, when the chances for a cure are greatest.

A few years ago, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) came out in support of a screening exam that a large-scale study demonstrated was effective at finding lung cancer early. The test is called low-dose computed tomography, or LDCT. At Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, we’ve been offering this testing for over a decade, even before the USPSTF published its findings.

Along with the USPSTF support came a recommendation that people at high risk for developing lung cancer receive the screening every year. As a result, private insurers (such as Anthem, Cigna and United Healthcare) now cover the cost of the exam for eligible patients, as do Medicare and Medicaid.

Who’s eligible for the screening
The criteria for the screening are strict, but are based in medical research. To be eligible for the screening:

  • The individual must be between the ages of 55 and 80 (Medicare coverage to age 77 only) and in good enough health to withstand potential treatment for cancer, should something be found.
  • The person must have a 30-year pack history of smoking. A 30-year pack history means the patient smoked about a pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years, and so on.
  • The individual may currently smoke, or may have quit smoking less than 15 years ago. Congrats – after 15 years as a non-smoker, former smokers are no longer considered to be high risk!
  • Annual screening is to be discontinued when the patient has been smoke-free for 15 years or if their health declines to a level at which they would no longer be able (or interested) in curative treatment for lung cancer.

 

It may seem odd that people who have symptoms of lung cancer are not eligible for the screening. But remember, the screening is designed to detect cancer early. If you have symptoms, by definition, early detection is off the table and a different set of protocols applies.

What does the screening involve?
The screening is quick, simple and painless. Patients are taken to a private room, where they may be asked to change into an exam gown. They are then positioned on a table and the technologist leaves the room. The technologist will be in constant contact with the patient throughout the exam. The table will move into the CT tube and a series of X-rays will be taken. Patients may be asked to hold their breath for short periods of time. When the exam is finished, the table will move out of the tube and the technologist will assist the patient from the table. The actual exam takes no more than 10 minutes.

The images will be read by LDC’s radiologist and the findings sent to the referring physician within two business days.

The Lexington Diagnostic Center advantage
Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI has been performing low-dose CT screenings for lung cancer longer than any facility in the area. Our technologists and physicians are very experienced in LDCT and very sensitive to the concerns of our patients.

Just as importantly, low-dose CT screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center is affordable. Because imaging is the focus of our business, we keep our costs low and pass the savings on to our patients. LDCT screening at Lexington Diagnostic Center is hundreds of dollars less expensive than a screening performed at a local hospital. We accept all major insurance plans and will work closely with you, your physician and your insurance company to ensure coverage for the test. You will know up front what your cost is … no surprise bills 30, 60 or 90 days later!

Want to know more?
Talk with your primary care provider about low-dose CT screening for lung cancer and let them know you want to go to Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI for testing. Or, give us a call at 859-278-7226, or contact us via our website at LexingtonDiagnostic.com.

No Better Time To Say “Thanks” Than Now

We at Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI are continuously thankful for the patients who choose to use us for their care; for the physicians and other healthcare providers who have placed their trust and confidence in us to care for their patients; and for every member of our team, who work diligently to ensure that our patients are well cared for, our testing is of the highest quality and our reputation is sterling.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we wanted to share with you a few of the comments we have received from our patients about their experiences at LDC. We know the best way for people to get to know and trust us is through the experiences of their friends and families.

Raves about our Team
“My technician Karen was so very nice and informative. Very professional and compassionate. I want her to do every procedure I ever have to have in the future!”

“Each and every member of you staff were exceptional. Giving and getting information, caring and concern directed to each patient. A very calming influence which in my case was very appreciated.”

“I have had a number of CT scans at (other facilities). The nursing staff at LDC was the friendliest and most informative I have yet encountered. The Technician who first explained the test and then administered it was by far the most qualified in his knowledge of the procedure and its explanation to me that I have had.  He was expert in the injection – no bruise, no hesitation, no pain – a real delight.  All excellent.”

“For my very first time visiting the staff made me feel like I had been there multiple of times. That gave me a such a great feeling and Ms. Debra was so awesome and you definitely made me feel welcomed. Thank You Lexington Diagnostic Center you all are absolutely awesome.”

“Lee Kirkland did a great job explaining everything to me. He made me feel relaxed the whole time. I could tell he genuinely cared.”

“The tech, I think his name was Lee, was also very courteous and explained everything in detail and answered any questions I had.”

Comparing Prices
“Previous people I work with have compared prices to local hospitals and found that Lexington Diagnostics has better pricing and much faster results.  When we send our patients there, their results sometimes beat them back to the office!”

“You offer the same services other facilities offer at a much more reasonable price. Short wait times and a knowledgeable staff. I could have saved myself hundreds of dollars if I had gotten my X-rays here. Hospital charged almost $1,500. For 3 simple X-rays of hands and feet. Taught me a valuable lesson about shopping for the best value for my money.”

Efficiency and Convenience
“I can always count on fast, friendly and knowledgeable service when I am calling LDC in a professional role as well as a personal role.”

“Your office seems like a well-oiled machine.  I like that I left with my disk even though you sent results to 2 different doctors.  Some places I’ve been too seem put out if you ask for a copy of your records.”

“I was extremely appreciative that I was able to come from my physician to get an X-ray without an appointment as I live out of town.  I did not feel very well that day, and I was grateful that I did not have to travel back to Lexington at another time.”

“The most professional medical facility I’ve ever been to. Everyone was so polite and friendly.”

“I was scheduled for 7:30 and there was a wreck and I was actually 30 minutes late for my appointment time. The Staff worked me in anyway, which was awesome because I drove an hour to get there.”

You, too, can discover the convenience and value of having your medical imaging done at Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI. We perform a wide array medical imaging exams, including:
• CT scans
• MRI
• Ultrasound
• General x-ray
• Virtual colonoscopy
• Nuclear medicine studies
• Dexa and bone density studies
• Cardiac calcium scoring
• Low-Dose CT scanning for lung cancer
• Prostate MRI
• Epidural and facet block injections

Lung Cancer Screening

Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening
Dr. George W. Privett, Jr.

In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, we should be reminded that Kentuckians have the highest rate of death from lung cancer in the United States. Most lung cancers cause no symptoms until they are too large to be successfully treated.

Lung Cancer is a dreaded diagnosis, particularly when it is discovered after it has already spread throughout the body. What can you do to lower your risk of early death from Lung Cancer? There are two things: 1. STOP SMOKING! and 2. Get a screening test for early detection.

Discovering a screening test that would effectively diagnose this disease before it spreads and would make a cure possible has not been easy. Chest X-rays and sputum analysis for malignant cell have been tried in the past without success.

Fortunately, the CT Scan became available. The CT (or Computed Tomography) scanner takes images of the lungs by spinning an X-ray tube around a patient lying on a bed. By using a powerful computer program, detailed images of the lung are obtained that can detect lung tumors as small as 2 mm. No injections or dyes are needed and the test takes less than 10 minutes. In addition and at no extra charge, other structures in the chest such as the aorta, spine, lymph nodes, heart and ribs are imaged.

We have been providing Low Dose Screening Lung CT for 10 years. However, it was only recently that a large study confirmed what we had suspected – a CT Screening is very effective at reducing deaths in high risk patients by detecting lung cancers early when they are still curable. (As an aside, Screening Lung CT is much more effective than Screening Mammograms and Screening PSA for prostate cancer.)

What is High Risk? High Risk is defined in patients are those who are 55 to 74 years of age who have smoked at least one pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years (or two packs per day for 15 years, etc.). If a tumor is found, then the patient will need additional tests and possibly a biopsy to determine if it is a cancer or something benign.

Because a spiral CT scan is so detailed, it is possible that something will show up on the exam that is not cancer (false positive) and additional necessary testing may be costly and lead to side-effects. There is also slight risk due to radiation exposure; however, modern screening is performed with low dose techniques to minimize the exposure.

Currently Anthem covers this Screening Lung CT, and because of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) all other commercial carriers must cover it by January 1, 2015. Medicare will decide if it is going to cover the Screening in November 2014. Low Dose CT may cost as much as $500 in some hospital based centers. For patients without insurance, the current cash price at Lexington Diagnostic Center is $169, and this includes the radiologist charge.

Remember, most lung cancer can be successfully treated if it is found early. If you are at high risk for lung cancer you should consider Low Dose CT Lung Screening, especially if you meet the following criteria:
• Age 55 to 74
• Current or past smoker
• 30 pack-year history of smoking
And no matter what your risk is…..If you are a smoker, stop!