Northern earns cancer screening designation


First Posted: 2/16/2015

Northern Hospital of Surry County has been designated a Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Hospital officials indicated the ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center designation is a voluntary program recognizing facilities ‘committed to practice safe, effective diagnostic care for individuals at the highest risk for lung cancer.”

In order to receive this designation, facilities must be accredited by the ACR in computed tomography in the chest module, as well as undergo an assessment of its lung cancer screening protocol and infrastructure, according to hospital officials. Also required are procedures in place for follow-up patient care, such as counseling and smoking cessation programs.

Information from hospital spokesperson Ashley Lancaster indicates a lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans, and appropriate follow-up care, significantly reduces lung cancer deaths.

According to the American Lung Association, the five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 54 percent for cases detected when the diseases is still only within the lungs. However, only 15 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage. Smoking contributes to 80 percent of lung cancer deaths in women and 90 percent in men.

A lung cancer screening CT scan may be ordered by a patient’s primary care physician. To qualify for the screening, certain criteria must be met by the patient. Individuals must be between the ages of 55 and 74, be a current or former smoker who has quit in the past 15 years, have a smoking history of a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years, or a 20-pack-a-year smoking history with certain risk factors such as asbestos exposure or family history of lung cancer.

Persons may obtain more information about the screening by speaking with their primary care physician. A referral from a healthcare provider is needed to have the test performed.

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