Secrets from the Scan: Lung Cancer Awareness, Life-Saving Screens

Florida Lung, Asthma and Sleep Specialists challenge you to save lives of smokers and former smokers this year.  The secrets are included in the scans.  For the first time, you really can personally and individually save the lives of loved ones.  They might already have the early stages of lung cancer.  Feel the power of that option because your encouragement could lead them not only to a scan but to early treatment and a cure.
Chances are very strong that someone you know or love needs this screening.  This year, doctors will diagnose 116,470 US men and 109,690 women with lung cancer.

Secrets of Our Sharing and Caring about Lung Cancer Scans this November

As doctors and healthcare professionals at FLASS are dismayed as we begin the traditional campaign for lung cancer awareness. Why? We think it’s sad that many people

Secrets of cancer awareness include talking to loved ones about scans.
Even cowboys need to know the secrets of the lung cancer scan.

do not realize that lung cancer scans are unknown by so many. Every day we face the thought, “If only we had known about this patient’s lung cancer sooner, we could have saved them.”

In some cases,we cannot help but think about the days of work we could save lung cancer patients. Lung cancer will deprive them of many professional hours of profitable work.  Likewise, we know patients whose families who will lose time with their loved ones. They will be too sick to enjoy active hours with friends and relations.
Lung cancer is simply our number one killer disease.  And it hurts us to see this disease rob patients of robust strength and active schedules. And in the end, their lives.  “About 160,340 people will die from lung cancer in the United States this year.”

Secrets That Came Too Late for the Marlboro Man

Today, in many cases, modern medicine could stop the progressive spread of lung cancer. We could treat it longer and easier. That is, if only the patient had taken the scan.  if only we knew about the lung cancer sooner.

Lung Cancer Screening is not a Secret:  Help Us Bring It To Light

So, we are appealing to you to share the “secrets!”  And the biggest part of the secret is that this scan or “lung cancer screening” is that is not a secret.  It’s just new.  It is a gift of recent technology and medical science.  Officially the name of this life-saving scan for lung cancer is Low-dose CT or LTCT or Low-dose tomography.

Secret Number One:  FLASS asks the question, “Do your loved ones realize that if they take the scan and they are diagnosed, they boost their chances of a five-year survival from 11 to 55 percent?”  That is the power of early detection.  So we need to get the word out about this screening.

Secret Number Two: Getting screened for lung cancer is probably covered by your Medicare and most other policies!  This is amazing news.  According to  Lung.Org, online, “If you are 55-80 years old and have private insurance or 55-77 years old, have Medicare, and meet the other high-risk criteria listed, most policies do not charge a shared cost for the scan.

Initial Scan and Cost

the initial scan will be covered without cost-sharing.” You or your loved one can double-check “with your insurance plan for screening coverage and for any additional procedures— there may be other costs associated even if the actual screening is free.” Visit the Lung Cancer Screening Insurance Checklist if you are financially concerned about the cost of the test… 

Secret Number Three:  Your friend or loved one is in a high-risk group for lung cancer if he or she meets the following criteria:

1.      If your loved one is between the ages of 55-80 years old, he or she is at risk.

2.      If  he or she has a smoking history of 30 years or more (an average of one pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, etc.), and are current smokers or have quit in the past 15 years.”

3.      Research scientists are working to discover more elements that contribute to the high risk of developing lung cancer.  However, at the current time, these are the only qualifications for this exclusive group.  And it’s a pretty large group.

Secret Benefits of Your Lung Cancer Screening

You may have a most difficult secret you to share with a friend or loved one.  If he or she is a current or former smoker, the lung cancer risk is 25 times higher than in someone who has never smoked.
That statistic is a little bit negative, and not really suitable for an initial conversation with your friend or relative. However, we do advise you to mention that this test will identify even the tiniest nodules and microscopic abnormalities in the lungs.

Remember, patients in the early stages of lung cancer do not typically exhibit symptoms. Do not wait for the classic pain and coughing as seen in some television and movie versions of the onset of lung cancer. Please, consider the above age and smoking history and then, allow your healthcare provider to diagnose a problem at an early stage. Even if the scan identifies lung cancer, it is still easier for the patient to endure, and for the health care team to treat in its early stages.

Celebrate, Advocate, Commemorate and Educate: Goals of  Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Ultimately, only your loved one’s healthcare professional can help him or her make an informed decision about a lung cancer scan.  However, we are counting on you to help him or her take the steps to talk about it with their healthcare team. There are benefits to the CT scan.  But all tests bring certain risks.  Your friend or loved one must discuss their specific situation with their doctor.  And that is the first challenge. Sometimes, simply getting a patient to go to the doctor is the needed factor.

A Quick Review:  The first steps are to know the test exists and to know if your friend or relative is in the high-risk group.  Then find the right moment to reach out and give them information about lung cancer screening. For that conversation, check out the hints below, designed for you to help the at-risk people in your life circle.

Secrets For Talking With Loved Ones about the CT Scan for Lung Cancer

FLASS wants to help you as you reach out to people about Lung Cancer Screening. So we advise you to approach the conversation with these three hints for navigating your conversation with your friend or loved one.

No Judgement:

Be encouraging and empathetic because no smoker or former smoker wants to hear negativity or condemnation of the smoking habit.  Be encouraging, non-judgmental and empathetic.  We caution you that smokers can be very sensitive about their smoking habit.  So we do not condone preachy or condescending attitudes.  And many smokers who fit this high-risk category began smoking before the health consequences of the habit were well known, understood or believed.

  • Secrets of talking about lung cancer might include careful navigation of a smoker's habits.
    Secrets of talking about the scan for Lung Cancer include a non-judging attitude.
    Focus on the Future:

    Realize that some people might believe lung cancer as a strictly terminal disease. They are not up to date on the facts of early detection and new treatments. Explain how the scan detects cancer while it’s in earlier and easiest-to-treat stages.  You might want to share some stories of people who were saved by the scan.

    Defeat  their Objections to the Scan

    Perhaps your loved ones avoid the scan because they do not realize their insurance or Medicare will cover the test without cost-sharing, as explained above. Break any down barriers the loved one might have about a doctor’s visit. They simply need to know that finding a problem at an early stage, before there are symptoms, may make it easier to treat.  Likewise, let them know that the lung cancer screening might reveal other problems that require treatment.  Let your conversation defeat the little objections that stand in the way of the test:

    Secret Needs of Loved Ones Who Need Lung Cancer Scans:
    Perhaps your loved ones hate to call and make appointments. Call for them. They might hate driving to the clinic.  Drive for them.  We even know of one patient who bargained for free lunch from her granddaughter. Lunch with them.  (As it turned out, it was a life-saving lunch, thanks to the CT Scan part of the bargain.)

    At the very least, we hope you use this year’s Lung Cancer Awareness Campaign month to acquaint your loved ones with these secrets, which we hope are not secret anymore.
    Thank you for reading the Florida Lung, Asthma and Sleep Specialists’ blog.  We promise to bring you more information about lung cancer and CT Scans next week. Until then, we hope you put our messages about the lung cancer scan to good use.

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