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Low-dose lung cancer screening available at New Ulm Medical Center

Anita Riederer, a physician assistant who works closely with patients having lung screening.

New Ulm Medical Center is offering low-dose lung screening to detect lung cancer early when treatment may work better.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. Each year more than 228,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer and about 143,000 die from the disease, which is greater than the number of people who die from colon, breast and prostate cancer combined.

Chances of surviving lung cancer increase when it is found early, before you begin experiencing symptoms. A low-dose lung screening exam has been shown to decrease lung cancer deaths in heavy smokers by 20 percent.

“If you have a history of heavy smoking, this is one test that you should consider discussing with your doctor,” said Jared Colvert, DO, family medicine, New Ulm Medical Center Clinic. “Early detection matters when it comes to lung cancer.”

In this test, you will undergo a noninvasive, low radiation dose computed tomography (CT) exam. A CT exam uses X-ray and a computer to get an in-depth look at your entire chest. The result is an image that provides a clear and detailed picture of your lungs. 

A CT exam can find small nodules (growths) in at least one out of four people who get this test. Most of the nodules are not cancer. Only three or four for every 100 lung nodules found are cancer.

Lung cancer screening is recommended if you:

• are between the ages of 55 and 80

• have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer (coughing up blood, trouble breathing, frequent infections, fatigue and unexpected weight loss)

• smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years

• have a history of heavy smoking (30 pack per year history). This means that you have smoked one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.

An appointment consists of an office visit and a scan. The scan takes about 15 minutes, and your results will be available in a few days.

If you think you would benefit from a low-dose screening, talk with your health care provider or call 507-217-5011 to make an appointment. Medicare covers this procedure, but you should check with your insurance provider regarding coverage.

Learn more about low dose lung screening at allinahealth.org/numc-lungcancerscreening. Learn more about Jared Colvert, DO, at wellness. allinahealth.org/colvert.