CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – This Thursday, Americans across the country will be taking part in the Great American Smokeout, an event supported by the American Cancer Society to help smokers create a plan to quit.
Smoking is a preventable cause of disease and premature deaths. Quitting dramatically increases the chances of a healthy life.
Dr. Peter Jablin of WellSpan Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine explained: “Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer. In addition, about 25% of all cancers are smoking related. In the U.S., 160,000 people die annually from lung cancer.”
Summit Health offers lung cancer screenings to those who have smoked. Eligible patients are between 55 and 79 years of age, are a current smoker or have quit within the past 15 years, and have smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for more than 30 years.
Dr. Jablin encourages people who meet these guidelines to talk with their health care provider about screening. Like mammography screening for breast cancer, patients return annually in order to make sure that any issues are detected early and to increase the chance for cure.
“This is a group project,” said Dr. Jablin, who explained that in 2013, his team worked with Chambersburg radiologists, WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital administration and WellSpan Family Medicine to build awareness of the screenings and establish a process to identify high-risk patients and offer state-of-the-art testing locally. In the first two years of the Low Dose CT Screening Program for Lung Cancer, over 500 patients have been screened and 4 lung cancers have been detected, a rate consistent with national experience in university hospitals. Lung cancer screening reduces lung cancer deaths by 20%.