Checkup 13: New lung cancer screen

Checkup 13: New lung cancer screen

Checkup 13: New lung cancer screen

Jim Carty's cancer was detected by a Low CT Lung scan.
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Checkup 13 emphasizes lung cancer this month. More Americans die from it each year than any other form of cancer. Late detection is part of the problem.

The cancer has already spread in 84 percent of cases. But doctors are encouraged by a new tool in the fight. It's the low-dose CT scan, which can find small cancers that are undetectable on a regular chest x-ray.

That is why 73-year-old Jim Carty feels so fortunate. His wife insisted that he go get a Low CT Lung Scan after he received a card in the mail.

"She said, 'I want you to do that'," Carty recalled. "I said there is no way I am going to do that."

"He fit the criteria and I said, 'I would really like for you to do this' and he looked at me and he said okay," Linda Carty said.

The scan detected a small 8 millimeter nodule. Surgery confirmed it was malignant, but it hadn't spread.

"A chest x-ray, because of its location, probably would have detected (the nodule)," said Dr. Richard Freeman, St. Vincent thoracic surgeon. "Without this scan, this would have continued to grow and likely only be recognized when he developed symptoms. At that point, it's often too late to cure."

"You can have the cancer and not know it," said Carty. "I felt great doing everything I normally do, and if I had not done that, I would probably be in very serious trouble right now."

The cancer had not spread to any of Carty's lymph nodes, so he will not have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation.

Freeman said the test "reduces the death rate by the exact same amount that mammography does for breast cancer." The early detection can mean a 70-80 percent cure rate.

For Checkup 13 this month, St. Vincent is offering a $99 lung scan for long-time smokers. To qualify, you must be 55-to-79-years-old with a current or former smoking habit of a pack a day for 30 years.

The scan is available at four Indiana locations. To register for an appointment call the Checkup 13 hotline at 1-866-U-CHECK-13 or 1-866-824-3251.

The hotline opens at 8 a.m., or you can register by clicking this link.