NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk Hospital will now offer free lung cancer screenings for people who are at risk, including current or former heavy smokers between the ages of 55 and 79 years.
“This is a life-saving test,” Dr. Alan Richman, chairman of the Department of Radiology at Norwalk Hospital, said in a statement. “In these difficult economic times, we do not want cost to be a barrier and we want to help people readily access the screenings,”
In early 2012, Norwalk Hospital became the first hospital in Connecticut to launch a low-dose computed tomography lung cancer-screening program to identify lung cancer in its earliest stages. Since then, 350 patients have been screened through the Norwalk Hospital program and six seemingly healthy people without symptoms were diagnosed with lung cancer. These cancers would not have been detected through a standard chest X-ray, said Dr. Richman.
Studies have shown that treatment for lung cancer is more effective and the likelihood of death decreases significantly if it is detected early through screening.
Norwalk Hospital’s free tests have a three-part benefit, according to Dr. James Bauman, director of the Norwalk Hospital lung cancer-screening program. The “low-dose” non-contrast CT produces a three-dimensional image of the lungs for early detection of lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and in women. According to the American Cancer Society, each year more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
Patients and referring physicians are notified of the test results and a lung health navigator assists patients who have positive findings with any follow-up that is needed.
For more information about this free program, call toll-free 855-4CHESTCT.