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Task Force Recommends Increased Screening for Lung Cancer

Task force recommends more screening for high risk lung cancer patients.
PEORIA - A federal task force is recommending more screening to detect lung cancer in the early stages.

 Lung cancer is said to be the number one cancer killer and now heavy smokers are in the high risk group and are encouraged to get early detection CT scans. The risk group counts generally healthy people who have smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for more than 30 years, or two packs a day over 15 years.

Doctors say smoking is the biggest risk for developing lung cancer, causing about 85 percent of lung cancers in the U.S.

The CT scans are low dose and could prevent 160,000 deaths every year.

"Most of the time when we diagnose with lung cancer it's usually at the time when people present with symptoms cough, shortness of breath, by the time they present with symptoms, we can't do much about it," said Dr. Patrick Whitten at the OSF Comprehensive Lung Cancer Clinic.

The scans aren't covered by most insurance plans, but Whitten said that after this recommendation, many could start providing coverage within a year.

OSF St. Francis provides details on it's CT scan services here.
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