According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States. Kentucky has the highest occurrence of new cases in the country. Even though Kentucky ranks second in the nation in screening people at high risk for lung cancer, it still has the highest death rate. Why?
Dr. Timothy Mullett, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center, says it’s because screening isn’t done early enough. “The majority of our patients, much more than the rest of the country, are seen with late-stage disease, over 80 percent of the time. We have a chance to change that. Lung cancer screening can be effective and can reduce mortality by as much as 20 to 50 percent.”
Fortunately, low-dose CT scans can detect lung cancer in its early, more treatable, stages.
Lung cancer screening is covered in Kentucky by Medicare and Medicaid at no or low cost for people who meet at-risk requirements. The American Lung Association has more information and a short quiz to help you determine your risk.
If you or someone you know is living with lung cancer, remember that involving palliative care can help with overall quality of life as you pursue treatment. Our home-based palliative program offers pain and symptom consultation and helps connect patients and families to resources and benefits that may help. Studies have shown that patients who receive hospice care soon after diagnosis with advanced lung cancer have better quality and length of life. They are also more likely to remain at home where their pain and symptoms are managed with regular nursing and care team visits and 24/7 access to nursing staff.
To learn more about our hospice and palliative care programs, explore this website or contact us anytime at 859-986-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.