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/main/imaging.