Baptist Health Hardin recently was named a Screening Center of Excellence by the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer for its commitment to responsible lung cancer screening.
According to the GO2 Foundation website, the Screening Center of Excellence designation recognizes medical facilities that provide responsible, high quality low-dose CT screening for early detection of lung cancer and comply with comprehensive standards based on best practices.
“It just shows that we have a commitment to the lung screening process,” said Connie Barnes, lung nurse navigator at Baptist Health Hardin.
According to a news release provided by the GO2 Foundation, low-dose CT screening for lung cancer can save tens of thousands of lives a year by finding lung cancer early when it is most treatable and even curable.
A CT scan produces a cross-sectional image of the human anatomy, which helps the clinician determine the presence of certain diseases.
“Lung cancer screenings are the proven method right now of detecting lung cancer at an early and treatable stage,” Barnes said.
Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of 16 physicians and scientists who evaluate preventive tests and medications, expanded screenings for lung cancer for smokers and ex-smokers. People with a history of smoking now can begin getting annual low-dose CT scans at age 50.
This new recommendation sets the age at five years earlier than the group recommended in 2013.
“The adjustment of these guidelines is an important change since it means that we can start screening earlier and hopefully catch lung cancer earlier which improves the odds of being able to treat it successfully,” said Dr. William “Ben” Cundiff of the Baptist Health Medical Group Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in a news release. “We’re hoping that this will reduce mortality rates from lung cancer in our area and that more people will be able to seek this non-invasive, and painless scan.”
Cundiff said the first step is for a person to speak with a physician about smoking history to discuss a lung cancer screening referral.
“If these guidelines apply to you, talk to your healthcare provider about our Low Dose CT screening at Baptist Health Hardin,” Cundiff said in the release. “The most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking. Whether or not you are screened, quitting smoking is the most powerful way to reduce your risks of dying or suffering from lung cancer, emphysema and heart attacks.”