LETTER TO CTN: Health Department program can detect lung cancer

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Lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer combined. Screening can detect lung cancer early and is available through the Allegany County Health Department lung cancer screening program.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 4,270 people in Maryland will be diagnosed with lung cancer by the end of 2018. Out of those people, an estimated 2,560 will die.

Why such a high death rate? By the time a person starts to have symptoms, the cancer is likely to have spread to other areas and to be in the advanced stages. Early screening (before you have symptoms) can save your life.

If you are age 50 to 80, live in Maryland, have no health insurance, or insurance that doesn’t cover the screening cost, you may be eligible to receive a “no-cost-to-you” lung cancer screening through the Allegany County Health Department (must meet income guidelines). Questions to ask yourself are:

• Do I presently smoke or have I quit smoking within the past 15-20 years?

• Do I have a family history (parents, siblings, children) of lung cancer?

• Do I have a personal history of lung cancer or lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pulmonary fibrosis?

• Have I been exposed to asbestos or radon at work or home?

• Do I have a 20 to 30 pack year smoking history? (Pack years are calculated by multiplying the number of years smoked times the average number of packs you smoked per day.)

If you answered yes to any of these questions, call us at 301-759-5083 for more information and find out if you are eligible for a no-cost lung cancer screening. The Allegany County Health Department Lung Cancer Screening Program is funded through the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund.

Cathy Parish

Allegany County Health Department

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