Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. with about 175,000 new cases diagnosed each year and nearly 163,000 deaths annually. There are more options available for successful treatment when lung cancer is diagnosed in the early stages before the disease escapes the lung. Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast now offers low-dose CT screenings for lung cancer for a flat rate of $199.

Sacred Heart’s 64-slice Siemens Somatom Sensation enables spiral CT lung screenings with computer-aided detection. A scan with such precise capability and quickness can help doctors visualize small tumors with extreme accuracy and detail, detecting lung nodules as small as 3 mm. When comparing CT scans to standard chest x-rays, researchers found significant advantages for the patient, including:

·Non-calcified nodules were three times more likely to show up.

·Cancerous tumors were four times more likely to be detected.

·Stage 1 cancers were six times more likely to be detected.

According to the 2013 American College of Chest Physicians Guidelines on Screening for Lung Cancer and National Lung Screening Trial, patients who meet the following criteria may benefit from a screening:

·Smokers and former smokers age 55-74 who have 30-pack years or more (number of cigarette packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked) and who continue to smoke or have quit within the last 15 years.

·Occupational or environmental exposure to second-hand smoke

·Family history of lung cancer

·Continue to smoke or have quit smoking within the last 15 years

“The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended lung-cancer screening with low-dose CT scanning for those people meeting risk criteria,” said Dr. Gerard Matysik, pulmonologist with Sacred Heart Medical Group. “The USPSTF’s recommendations have generally become the United State’s standard of care.”

A physician’s referral is required for the lung-screening exam. The scan itself is non-invasive and pretty quick. Patients will be asked to briefly hold their breath as the CT scanner collects images of the lungs. The screening will be reviewed by a radiologist at the hospital, and the results will be sent to the patient’s referring physician to discuss with the patient and schedule any follow-up appointments as necessary.

Sacred Heart has a dedicated Nurse Navigator in the radiology department who is available to answer any questions about the exam and plays a vital role in connecting patients with follow-up appointments and procedures as necessary.

The cost of the exam is $199. Insurance does not currently cover lung-cancer screening exams. Once a physician’s referral is received for the screening, simply call 850-278-3800 to schedule the screening. For more information about the new low-dose CT screening for lung cancer at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, please call 850-278-3600 or visit