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New Online Lung Cancer Screening Tool Can Save Lives

December 11, 2013- Tom Joseph
HARRISBURG - The American Lung Association has launched a new online screening tool to help people determine if they should get a low-dose screening for lung cancer, the No. 1 killer in Pennsylvania and the nation.

Dr. Elizabeth Gore, a radiation oncologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said she thinks low-dose screening can save lives.

"They're quick, simple, sensitive scans to pick up lung nodules or early cancer in patients who are at high risk for lung cancer," she said. "So you're getting a relatively low dose of radiation, different than you would from a diagnostic scan, but it serves the purpose of screening for nodules."

The online assessment tool takes visitors through a series of questions that help determine if they meet guidelines for the low-dose screening, Gore said. Anyone can take the assessment, but Gore said certain people should make it a point to do it.

"People who are at high risk for lung cancer," she said, "including people who have at least a 30-pack-per-year history of smoking; they're older than 50."

The new online tool will literally be a life-saver, Gore said.

"I think it's very valuable," she said. "It gets people online, it gets them to assess the risk of lung cancer and determine whether they should have a CT scan or acute disposition. Also for people who are smokers, it's a terrific starting point to access some of the other tools to help them quit smoking and generally improve their overall health."

The American Lung Association also provides a toll-free line called the Lung HelpLine which can also help answer questions about lung health or CT screenings at 800-LUNG-USA.

By screening at-risk individuals, experts say, as many as 3,000 to 4,000 deaths could be prevented each year. The earlier the cancer is detected, Gore said, the better the chance of saving a life.

People can take the online screening at LungCancerScreeningSavesLives.org.

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