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Join the Great American Smokeout with Beebe Healthcare and understand your risk of lung cancer

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout. They may use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. The Great American Smokeout event challenges people to stop using tobacco and helps people know about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women. It is estimated there are 10 million individuals at high risk for developing lung cancer in the United States. Beebe Healthcare and the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout aim to help people quit smoking and understand their risk of lung cancer. Smoking cessation counseling is available to Sussex County residents by calling the Delaware Quitline 1-866-409-1858.

In an effort to detect and diagnose lung cancer in its earliest stages, Beebe Healthcare offers low dose CT lung cancer screenings at its Georgetown Health Campus, Millville office, and at the Medical Center in Lewes.

“Studies have shown how lung cancer screening can save lives. Screening has been approved by Medicare and other insurance companies because it helps to detect lung cancer at an early stage when it is most treatable,” said Dan Mapes, MPA, RT(N), CRA, Director of Diagnostic Imaging at Beebe Healthcare.

Beebe Healthcare offers low-dose CT scans for lung cancer screening. These scans are offered at very low cost to make them affordable to as many people as possible with a charge of $99, which includes the interpretation of the images. Patients who are uninsured or underinsured with an income between 138 % and 250 % of the Federal Poverty Level will also qualify for screenings through Delaware’s Screening for Life program at no charge to them.

“Our Nurse Navigator assures that patients qualify for the exam and then the navigator follows the patients’ results through a multidisciplinary medical team review to assure that any follow-up care is appropriate and that needed care is not missed,” Mapes said. “Patients are then entered into our database and reminded annually to be screened. In addition to offering the screenings, we offer smoking cessation classes to help members of the community quit smoking.”

Participants who received low-dose CT scans had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from lung cancer than those who received standard chest X-rays. This screening is approved only for high-risk individuals and is part of Beebe Healthcare's high-risk screening clinic initiative.

By working with Beebe’s Nurse Navigator, patients flow through the steps required. After the physician signs the order for the lung cancer screening, there is a pre-authorization process that allows the navigator to assess the patient and confirm coverage. Once everything is in place, the patient has the lung cancer screening, which is then reviewed by a multidisciplinary team to determine the next steps.

At Beebe Healthcare, lung cancer screenings are available to residents who have smoked a pack a day for 30 years, or those who have smoked two packs a day for 15 years. Individuals who currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years may also be eligible for screenings. All individuals must not have had a chest CT scan in the past 12 months and must not have any lung-related symptoms.

The Screening for Life Program covers lung, breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancer screenings for uninsured or underinsured Delawareans who are not eligible for Medicaid or the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace.

“A lung cancer screening can mean the difference between life and death,” said Judith Ramirez, EdD, MA, manager of Oncology Population Health at Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center. “By detecting lung cancer early, the outcome is much better for the patient.”

For more information and to find out if you qualify for the lung cancer screening, call (302) 645-3770 or go to /lung-cancer-screening.