UC Irvine Health urges free lung cancer screening for eligible high-risk veterans

Appointments for same-day imaging, consultation available throughout November

November 05, 2014

UC Irvine Health is observing Veterans Day by offering free lung cancer screenings throughout November to eligible veterans who are in high-risk categories.

Veterans are in one of the highest risk groups for lung cancer. Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, and a history of smoking among veterans is estimated to be 40 percent higher than among the general population. Additional risk factors for veterans include exposure to environmental contaminants, such as chemical fumes and carbon monoxide.

Eligibility guide for any veteran:

  • Between the ages of 55 and 74 who have smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years*, including those who still smoke or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
  • Between the ages of 50 and 74 who currently or previously smoked an average of one pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years*, and have at least one other risk factor for lung cancer, including: emphysema, exposure to certain substances such as asbestos, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, diesel fumes, nickel, radon, silica and uranium; a family history of lung cancer; a previous cancer diagnosis; pulmonary fibrosis

Veterans who want to learn if they are eligible for a free lung cancer screening should call 855-UCI-LUNG (855-824-5864).

“Early detection of lung cancer can save lives, and we strongly encourage those veterans who are in high-risk categories to take advantage of this free screening program,” said Salvador Yniguez, an official with VFW District 2. “On behalf of the 18 posts in my district, I want to thank UC Irvine Health for reaching out to veterans and offering this opportunity.”

The low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening offered by UC Irvine Health is equivalent to a mammogram and can help spot nodules which may indicate the earliest stages of lung cancer. Early detection is the key to survival, but most cases of lung cancer are detected only after symptoms appear, making the disease extremely difficult to treat. Although it is the most lethal of the four leading causes of cancer – lung, prostate, breast and colorectal – lung cancer is the only one not subject to routine screening.

LDCT is a quick and easy exam and is recommended by the National Cancer Institute  for individuals at high risk for lung cancer who meet specific criteria, to help detect cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable.

“For the first time since the advent of modern medicine, we now have the opportunity to defeat this deadliest of all cancers,” said Dr. Mohsen Davoudi, chief of UC Irvine Health Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine. “Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT is a revolution in the diagnosis and care of lung cancer, and has the potential to completely change the way we treat it.”

Lung cancer screening requires more than scans. A complete program is required to ensure the best possible outcome. The interventional pulmonary specialists at UC Irvine Health are one of the few full-service teams on the West Coast to provide a comprehensive range of diagnostic and treatment services for lung cancer.

The LDCT scan is conducted by an experienced chest radiology team. If the scan is negative, the radiology and interventional pulmonology teams advise the patient on whether annual follow-up screenings should be scheduled

In cases where the results are abnormal, a personalized plan of care is devised. Each tumor’s “fingerprint” is identified in order to devise therapies tailored to the patient’s specific genetic markers. UC Irvine Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center gives our patients access to promising new treatments, specialized therapies and the latest clinical trials.

*Note: A person’s smoking history is determined by their number of “pack years,” which is the average number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked. For example, a person who smoke half-a-pack per day for 20 years has smoked for 10 pack years. A person who smoked 1.5 packs per day for 20 years has smoked for 30 pack years.

UC Irvine Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UC Irvine Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 412-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 14 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UC Irvine Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. Located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities, it’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy.

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