Low-dose lung cancer screenings: Offering peace of mind

McLaren Oakland low-dose CT screenings are key in the early detection of lung cancer, but for one patient, it was also a way to achieve peace of mind.

For several years, the risk of lung cancer had been weighing on Kurt Van De Wiele's mind. At 59, he had never been a heavy smoker, characterizing himself as an "infrequent" smoker-lighting up for a few weeks at a time and during social occasions.

Kurt Van De Wiele
Kurt Van De Wiele
But he had begun to notice a trend. Stage IV lung cancer had started to take many of his loved ones from his life.

In 1981, his father, a long time smoker, died at age 50. September 2015, his sister passed away at age 60, after 40 years of being a pack-a-day smoker and his step father, after 45 years of two packs a day, passed away in July 2014.

"Even though it's my step-father and we're not biologically related, it still got me thinking," he said. "All of this got me thinking."

With smoking (at any frequency) and family history being primary factors for lung cancer, an uneasiness had settled over Kurt with the thought of cancer ever-present on his mind.

Kurt was told about the low-dose CT lung cancer screening for detection of lung cancer in its earliest stages-patients may have not yet begun to show symptoms. He decided to get a prescription for the scan from his physician and made an appointment. With low-dose scans, patients are exposed to less radiation than traditional CT scans.

"I walked in there to make an appointment and they took me right away," he said. "I didn't even have to take my shirt off. I laid on the table and it was very brief-over in 5 minutes."

The results came in a week later.

"The doctor shared the report with me and there were no nodules," Kurt said. "And there was such a sense of relief and peace of mind to hear that. It had been on my mind for so long."

He was told to follow up in 12 months, but his lungs showed no signs of cancer.

Furthermore, Kurt says this has led to a renewed interest in his health-getting back to exercising and watching closer what he eats.

"I feel better mentally," he said, "and now physically. I'm so glad I did this-I highly recommend it."

Eligible patients for a screening meet the following criteria:
"¢ Current smoker with at least a 30-pack per year history of smoking.
"¢ Former smokers who have quit within the past 15 years and have a history of smoking at least 30 packs per year.
"¢ Between the ages of 55 to 77.

Covered by Medicare and most insurance plans, the decision to undergo a lung cancer screening should be discussed and determined by a health care provider. Yearly screenings are recommended for those within the risk factor guidelines.

Low-dose CT scan lung cancer screenings are offered through McLaren Oakland imaging centers located at:

McLaren Oakland
50 North Perry Street in Pontiac
(248) 338-5608

McLaren Diagnostic Imaging
5701 Bow Pointe Drive in Clarkston
(248) 620-5012

McLaren Oakland Oxford campus
385 North Lapeer Road in Oxford
(248) 628-3000

To learn more or inquire about low-dose CT scan lung cancer screenings, visit mclaren.org/oaklandimaging.