Rhode Island Medical Imaging Announces Out-Patient Lung Cancer Screening Program

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RIMI is first to offer convenient out-patient lung cancer screening in Rhode Island, which can help reduce lung cancer death rates by about 20%.

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Rhode Island Medical Imaging (RIMI) is pleased to announce the first comprehensive out-patient lung cancer screening program available in the state of Rhode Island. Highly publicized results from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) indicate that lung cancer screenings can detect lung cancers with computed tomography (CT) early enough to reduce lung cancer death rates by about 20%.

Prior to this recent clinical trial, many lung cancers were diagnosed at a later stage with the use of X-ray technology. The low dose radiation technology behind CT scans is sufficiently sensitive in order to detect small tumors. Current and former smokers can now be screened at any of RIMI's five locations for early detection of lung cancer.

"We are pleased to be able to offer this program to high risk patients of Rhode Island with the convenience of an out-patient setting," said Terrance Healey, MD, the director of RIMI's lung cancer screening program. "Once a patient comes to us for a screening, we are also able to offer him or her many resources on how to quit smoking, in addition to the diagnostic evaluation and risk assessment."

RIMI's program is based upon the initial findings from the trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine last fall. Lung cancer screenings are recommended for current or former smokers at least 50 years of age, who have smoked one pack a day for at least 30 years or 2 packs a day for 15 years. Although the trial shows an overall 20% reduction in mortality rates as a result of screening, there are certain risks associated with screenings, including radiation exposure and false-positives that may result in additional testing.

Dr. Healey continues, "While the trial did show that there were several patients who experienced false-positives, the benefits certainly outweigh the risks of missing early stage lung cancer when it is in its most treatable stage."

Currently lung cancer screening is not a benefit generally covered by insurance and as such, is a cost that the patient must bear directly. However, as more clinical trials support the evidence of reducing death rates and treatment costs, it is believed that insurance companies will eventually cover lung cancer screenings in the same way they cover mammograms and colonoscopies. Ongoing analyses are comparing the costs of lung cancer to the cost of lung cancer screenings and Dr. Healey is optimistic that these studies will demonstrate that this screening should be a covered benefit.

The American Lung Association supports CT screening for smokers and former smokers based upon mounting evidence that lung cancer screening with CT can save lives.

Ask your primary care physician on how to schedule a lung cancer screening with Rhode Island Medical Imaging.

About Rhode Island Medical Imaging

Established in 1943, Rhode Island Medical Imaging (RIMI) maintains the highest standards of practice in medical diagnostic imaging. Their network of private facilities is staffed by board certified radiologists, registered technologists, and dedicated office personnel, offers physicians and patients prompt and professional service using state-of-the-art technology. The team of radiologists has broad based experience and subspecialty training in all areas of diagnostic imaging, providing patients with immediate access to consultations in any medical imaging subspecialty. RIMI radiologists also perform and interpret the full spectrum of imaging examinations at Rhode Island Hospital, Women & Infants Hospital, Hasbro Hospital and the Miriam Hospital. Those activities are complemented by their academic commitment to The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. RIMI's goal is to provide every physician and patient with the highest quality in contemporary diagnostic imaging.

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Sandi Duxbury
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