Lung cancer guidelines change; Norwalk Hospital offers free screening

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has just released a new recommendation for CT (computed tomography) screening for lung cancer. Norwalk Hospital will continue to offer these screenings free of charge.

The guidelines now extend to those people with a smoking history of 30 pack years (calculated by multiplying the average number of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years a person smoked) who are between the ages of 55 to 80 who quit smoking less than 15 years ago.

“This is significant news because it means that more lives will be saved,” said Dr. James Bauman, director of the lung cancer screening program at Norwalk Hospital.

Norwalk Hospital has been providing free lung cancer screenings for people who are at risk since October 2013. “In these difficult economic times, we do not want cost to be a barrier and we want to help people readily access the screenings,” Dr. Bauman said.

Studies have shown that treatment for lung cancer is more effective and the likelihood of death decreases significantly if it is detected early through screening. However, until recently, there has not been an effective tool for diagnosing early stage lung cancer.

The screening trial, a multi-year research study of more than 53,000 people conducted at 33 trial sites nationwide, showed a 20% reduction in lung cancer deaths among those who were screened by CT versus those who had standard chest X-rays.

Patients and are notified of the test results and a lung health navigator assists patients who have positive findings.

Information: 203-838-4886.