MEDFORD, Ore. -- The American Lung Association says 200,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. It says more than 150,000 people will die from the aggressive disease.
New screening practices are helping doctors reduce those enormous numbers. Providence Cancer Center in Medford is one of six designated lung cancer screening hospitals in the state. They are designated by the American College of Radiology.
Doctors at Providence use CT scanners to detect any problems in a patient. The hospital started using the widespread screening program in 2015 through the Affordable Care Act. To qualify for a screening you need to be at risk. This applies to people over the age of 55, or pack-a-day smokers.
The American Lung Association says screenings could prevent more than 12,000 lung cancer deaths every year.
"Its to really catch these cancers early so we can treat them when they are more treatable, and people can live longer and survive their cancer," says Dr. Mark Bradford, a Pulmonary Critical Care Physician at Providence Medford Medical Center.
While screening is beneficial to catching the disease early, Dr. Bradford says the overall goal is prevention. He says a decrease in smoking is helping that, "It's more cost prohibitive to smoke and people are starting to realize the impact of smoking as they see their own health deteriorate," says Dr. Bradford.
If you are not at risk, you can still get your lungs checked this month. On November 14, 2018 from 10 am to 2 pm Providence is holding a free lung health day. You can talk to doctors about your risk of lung cancer, and learn more about keeping your lungs healthy. The event will be held at the Lucille Tremblay Conference Center at Providence Medford Medical Center’s campus.