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Published on November 1st, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Palmetto Health Named One of 225 Named Screening Center of Excellence

Health System’s Low-dose CT Lung Cancer Screening Program Helps Identify Early Cancers

Palmetto Health has been named a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) for its ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening. Palmetto Health, one of 225 nationally who have received this designation, offers a low-dose CT lung cancer screening program for early diagnosis of lung cancer. This screening program is a diagnostic imaging test targeted for long-time smokers, ages 55 to 80, who have a 30 “pack years” history of smoking which includes people who still smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. (Pack years are determined by the number of packs smoked per day times the number of years smoked.) Currently, the screening costs $275 and is not covered by most insurance plans. However, it is an essential part of early detection for lung cancer and saves tens of thousands of lives a year and additional testing based on the results from the screening, will be billed to your insurance. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is scheduled to decide on lung cancer screening coverage in early November.

The importance of the LCA Designated Screening Center of Excellence designation is these centers  are committed to provide clear information based on current evidence on who is a candidate for lung cancer screening, and to comply with comprehensive standards based on best practices developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program for controlling screening quality, radiation dose and diagnostic procedures within an experienced, multi-disciplinary clinical setting.

“We are proud and honored to be working with Palmetto Health as a Lung Cancer Alliance Screening Center of Excellence. Their commitment to practice responsible lung cancer screening will lead to advancements in research and many lives saved. They are an example to follow,” says LCA President and CEO, Laurie Fenton Ambrose.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. – more people die of lung cancer each year than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. The screening can detect lung cancer early before symptoms occur increasing the likelihood of survival.

Mark Mayson, M.D., Palmetto Health pulmonologist, knows all too well that the statistics are alarming when it comes to lung cancer deaths. He believes that lung cancer doesn’t get the attention that other cancers do even though early detection is vitally important to survival. Mayson adds, “Seventy-five percent of lung cancer is diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease which greatly reduces the chance of survival. It’s a disease that is asymptomatic, so once a patient notices symptoms the cancer has progressed significantly. This screening offers us a valuable tool to help find cancer earlier when the survival rate is much higher.”

Mayson also reminds the community that it is never to late to quit smoking. He says that your risk reduces when you quit. He said, “Although smokers still are at a higher risk than non-smokers, for every year that they have quit, their risk continues to decrease.”

To see if you qualify for a lung cancer screening or for help with smoking cessation, call 803-296-CARE (2273) or visit PalmettoHealth.org.

About Palmetto Health

Palmetto Health, the largest health care system in the Midlands and third largest non-governmental employer in South Carolina, is composed of more than 10,000 team members, physicians and volunteers working together to fulfill Palmetto Health’s vision: to be remembered by each patient as providing the care and compassion we want for our families and ourselves. The system includes five acute-care hospitals—Palmetto Health Baptist, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, Palmetto Health Heart Hospital and Palmetto Health Richland—as well as an expansive physician practice network, dozens of affiliated clinics and specialty care practices and a 501(c)(3) foundation. Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge, the region’s newest hospital located in northwest Columbia, is scheduled to open spring 2014. Recognized nationally as one of the best places to work and receive care, Palmetto Health also trains the next generation of physicians through its 23 residency and fellowship programs affiliated with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. For more information, visit www.PalmettoHealth.org.

About Lung Cancer Alliance

LCA is committed to saving lives and accelerating research by empowering people living with or at risk for lung cancer. LCA provides live, professional support, referral and information services to patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; conducts national awareness campaigns, including the award winning No One Deserves to Die Campaign attacking the stigma of the disease and the Moments Campaign, spreading word about the risk and screening with a risk navigator tool for consumers; and advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research.

Lung Cancer Alliance launched the National Framework for Lung Screening Excellence and its Continuum of Care in 2012 and now have over 200 sites committed to the guidelines. The National Framework lays out a bill of rights for the at-risk public and guiding principles for lung cancer screening sites. www.lungcanceralliance.org

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