When it comes to the number of residents of Eastern Kentucky who are diagnosed with cancer, the region is far above the national average. In fact, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Eastern Kentucky has six of the top 10 counties in the United States for cancer death rates.
Lung cancer is among the top types of cancer diagnosed in Eastern Kentucky and it can be more deadly when not diagnosed while in its early stages. As with many types of cancer, lung cancer detection is commonly done through a screening process.
“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and kills about 160,000 people per year,” said Dr. Vickie Morgan, Pikeville Medical Center Oncologist. “Unfortunately, we treat many lung cancer patients here at PMC. By the time lung cancer produces symptoms, it may have spread, making treatment more difficult. This is why we have to continue to stress lung cancer screening measures.”
The two major types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Causes of lung cancer include smoking, secondhand smoke, exposure to certain toxins, and family history.
Symptoms can include cough (often with blood), chest pain, wheezing, and weight loss.
According to the American Cancer Society, low-dose CT scans (LDCT) can help find abnormalities in the lungs that may be cancerous. Research has shown that using low-dose CT scans to screen people at higher risk of lung cancer has saved more lives than chest X-rays alone. During an LDCT scan, the patient lies on a table and a machine uses a low amount of radiation to produce detailed images of the lungs, which can provide more information than a chest x-ray alone. The scan only takes a few minutes and is not painful.
The staff of the PMC Leonard Lawson Cancer Center are currently seeking participants for the last round of FREE low-dose CT scans provided by the Lexington Cancer Foundation. Anyone between the ages of 55 and 74 who either smokes or has smoked, is asked to consider visiting www.pikevillehospital.org/free-low-dose-screenings to see if he or she qualifies for the FREE low-dose CT scan. Call 606-218-4843 for more details.