Lung cancer, heart calcium screenings available at Palmetto Health Tuomey

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Posted 12/4/18

Palmetto Health Tuomey's Radiology team is offering two new health screenings for people 50 and over: a cardiac calcium scoring test and a low-dose lung cancer screening for early detection.

"We look forward to offering these to the …

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Lung cancer, heart calcium screenings available at Palmetto Health Tuomey

Posted

Palmetto Health Tuomey's Radiology team is offering two new health screenings for people 50 and over: a cardiac calcium scoring test and a low-dose lung cancer screening for early detection.

"We look forward to offering these to the community. They can increase your lifespan and impact your overall health," said Angie Gilley, an imaging supervisor.

The cardiac calcium scoring is a quick scan of the heart to measure how much calcium is in the main vessels. It's a simple scan with no injections involved and is especially beneficial to anyone over 50 who has increased cholesterol and/or hereditary heart issues.

The cancer screening is designed for those who have a long history of smoking.

"Many lung cancers have no signs or symptoms, and some people who come to see the doctor after symptoms appear already have advanced cancer," Gilley said. "This screening offers early detection and better opportunities for care in the long term."

Most insurance plans cover the test, but there are strict criteria, and it requires a physician's order. Those screened must be between 55 to 80 years old and either currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

The accompanying tracking system will follow the patient to encourage follow-up and will be part of the National Data Registry of the American College of Radiology.

Charles White, M.D., Palmetto Health-USC Pulmonology, said the screening makes a "big difference."

"Before these screenings, there was no effective way to find lung cancer early. We used to find them when they were already advanced or had spread," he said. "Now we have lower risks and better outcomes. If you find lung cancers early, you have about a 90 percent chance of a cure. Find them later, and the five-year survival rate is only about 13 percent."

He said it's especially important in a place like Sumter.

"We have a very heavy smoking population," he said. "We could screen and find lung cancers much earlier and give people a better chance at survival."

Contact your primary care physician to discuss the screenings and whether they might be beneficial for you. If you don't have a family doctor, call 803-774-CARE (2273) or visit PalmettoHealth.org/FindaPhysician.