By Gina Fedele, Windsong Marketing Services Manager

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lowered the age of eligibility for low dose lung cancer CT screening exams after research revealed that individuals who are younger and have smoked less can benefit. People ages 50 to 80 who smoked at least 20 pack-years or still smoke, or have quit smoking within the last 15 years can be screened.

Dr. Raja Cheruvu, Director of Windsong’s LDCT screening program, says, “The change in eligibility will save lives because most lung cancers are diagnosed after symptoms appear, which is usually too late for successful treatment. These new guidelines are particularly important for African Americans and women, who tend to not have as heavy a smoking history.”

The good news is that Insurers must offer the exam at no cost to those who qualify. The bad news is that one study reveals that only 14 percent of individuals eligible for lung cancer screening under the old guidelines were taking advantage of it — a stark contrast to the 60 to 80 percent of individuals regularly screened for breast, colon, and cervical cancer.

Dr. Cheruvu encourages anyone meeting the criteria for this life-saving screening, to talk to their doctor to obtain a prescription, saying “Bolstering awareness of this exam will decrease the burden of lung cancer on our community and, more importantly, on our loved ones.”

Windsong patient navigators work closely with all patients to ensure they are informed and reminded about annual exams and other necessary follow-up regarding their screenings. Windsong also offers free one-hour virtual smoking cessation classes to help those who need help quitting. To learn about upcoming sessions or register, contact Angela Sikora at 716-631-2500 ext. 2376.