Lung cancer screening

A ray of hope

There is new hope for lifelong smokers. Results of a 2011 study showed that high-risk patients who were screened annually with a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scan had a 20 percent lower chance of dying of lung cancer than those screened with a chest x-ray.

In addition, patients caught at the earliest and most treatable stage of cancer (stage one), increased from 21 to 40 percent.

It is with these incredible results in mind that Salem Cancer Institute is launching a new screening program designed to catch the disease in its early stages.

It is with these incredible results in mind that Salem Cancer Institute launched a new screening program focused specifically on saving lives in our community. The pilot program launched in January and includes LDCT screening, education and results tracking.

Patients may also have the opportunity to enroll in a clinical trial or an optional smoking cessation program.

Early detection matters

Lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States (160,000 this year alone) and, unfortunately, more than 75 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at stage three or four—when five-year survival rates drop to less than 15 percent. But if diagnosis happens at an earlier stage, there is a much better chance that the patient can be cured with appropriate treatment.

Lung cancer screening is one of the most effective prevention tools in health care—one life is saved for every 320 screened, as compared to one life saved for every 1,500 breast cancer screenings. With approximately 15,000 people in Salem and the surrounding area who fit the screening criteria, the LDCT lung cancer screening program has the potential to save many lives.. 

The LDCT scan is also one of the easiest screening exams a patient can have. It is completely painless and doesn’t require fasting or taking unpleasant contrast solutions. Instead, the patient simply reclines on CT platform and briefly holds his or her breath. The entire process takes a matter of minutes.

Join our pilot program

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be 55 to 74 years old.
  • Have smoked a minimum of 30 pack-years (“pack-years” equals the number of packs per day multiplied by the number of years smoked).
  • Be a current smoker or have quit within the past 15 years.
  • Have no current symptoms of a lung condition or a history of lung cancer.

The $99 cost includes a LDCT scan, education and follow-up. While most insurance plans do not currently cover lung cancer screenings, scholarships are available to those who qualify thanks to the Salem Hospital Foundation.

The $99 fee covers the cost of screening only. Visits to your family doctor before or after the procedure, subsequent tests, and any necessary treatments are not included.

For more information, check our frequently asked questions page or call Salem Cancer Institute at 503-561-SCAN (7226).

Salem Cancer Institute


2011 Annual Report

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