Health Beat: Lung cancer screening guidelines

CHICAGO - CT scans have become a yearly ritual for Jody Wilson. After a severe and continuous cough, doctors diagnosed and cured her lung cancer.

"I was absolutely sure if the cancer came back, I would know, and I didn't," Wilson said.

In 2011, Wilson had no symptoms, but doctors found a new cancer in her good lung. Researchers are just now discovering the importance of low-dose radiation chest CT scans in the early detection of lung cancer.

A National Cancer Institute study shows a 20 percent decrease in mortality compared to x-ray screening.

The new CT scan recommendations address individuals at high risk for lung cancer. For example, those who are 55- to 75-years-old, those who smoke or have quit within 15 years and those who smoked at least pack a day for a total of 20 to 30 years.

Dr. Avnit Kapur, diagnostic radiologist at Weiss Memorial Hospital Chicago, is optimistic about the tests.

"If the cancer is found early it can be treated, it can be cured," Kapur said.

Wilson said she understands people's hesitation but she's living proof of the benefit of getting tested.

Currently, many insurance companies are not covering the low-dose chest CT scans for lung cancer screening, however, some hospitals do offer affordable CT scans for about $200.

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