Community Care News


ImageCare Offering Breakthrough Screening for Lung Cancer Using CT Scans

ImageCare Medical Imaging will be the first outpatient imaging facility in the area to offer patients a new lung cancer screening test using low-dose CT scans to detect the smallest possible tumor. This will provide doctors with the opportunity to begin evaluating, following, and potentially treating lung cancer in its earliest stages. The screening, which will be offered at ImageCare’s location in Latham at the Capital Region Health Park, is appropriate for asymptomatic 55- to 74-year-old smokers and former smokers.

A recent landmark national study, published in August 2011 in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that using low-dose CT scans can detect tumors early and reduce lung cancer mortality by up to 20 percent in high-risk smokers and ex-smokers. With these findings, ImageCare radiologists can provide patients with guidance through diagnostic evaluation, long term follow-up and, if needed, guidance on treatment.

“Patients have the best chance of recovery when their cancer is found early on,” said Dr. John Fantauzzi, sub-specialized Thoracic Radiologist at ImageCare Medical Imaging. “Until recently, physicians didn’t have a reliable tool to detect lung cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage. The CT images can now demonstrate pathology as small as a few millimeters in size.”

Dr. Fantauzzi and Dr. Frederic Hellwitz of ImageCare Medical Imaging will interpret patients’ CT scans. They are the only fellowship trained thoracic radiologists in the area, which ensures appropriate, consistent interpretation and recommendations for follow-up (or no follow-up).

The scan takes less than 10 seconds and only requires the patient to hold their breath one time. The entire examination takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish. This exam will benefit patients that are at high risk for lung cancer and can also provide information to their physicians about cardiovascular disease and other lung diseases.

The $199 scan is not currently covered by insurance. Assistance and referrals will be provided as needed for any follow up care required. Counseling and recommendations for smoking cessation can also be provided.

“For at risk patients, the CT scan is worth the price, especially when one considers the cost of a pack of cigarettes” said Dr. Fantauzzi.

Radiation used for CT lung cancer screening is far less than the dose for a routine diagnostic Chest CT exam. The amount of radiation from the screening is comparable to the average background radiation one gets in a year of living around Albany, NY. The screening also does not use contrast dye which means there are no needles, no IV line, no side effects to the kidneys, and no chance of an allergic reaction.

Patients need to obtain a prescription from their primary care physician for the screening. Physicians can request “CT lung cancer screening” at ImageCare Medical Imaging. Exams will be scheduled Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm at ImageCare’s Latham office, 711 Troy-Schenectady Road Suite 114. Patients and physicians can contact 518-786-1600 for more information or to refer a patient for the screening.

“We will continue to counsel our patients on smoking cessation for prevention,” said Dr. Fantauzzi. “At ImageCare, we now also have a reliable screening technique to detect lung cancer in its earliest stage in our at-risk patients.”

Patients need to obtain a prescription from their primary care physician for the screening. Physicians can request “CT lung cancer screening” at ImageCare Medical Imaging. Exams will be scheduled Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm at ImageCare’s Latham office, 711 Troy-Schenectady Road Suite 114. Patients and physicians can contact 518-786-1600 for more information or to refer a patient for the screening.

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