Central Maine Medical Center
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300 Main Street, Lewiston, ME 04240 | 207-795-0111

Central Maine Medical Center Offering Free Lung Screening

Central Maine Medical Center is offering free early lung cancer screenings to smokers and former smokers meeting certain criteria.

CMMC is providing low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans to smokers and former smokers who are at high risk for developing lung cancer.

Beginning in May 2009, CMMC participated in a lung cancer screening program called the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program(IEarly Lung Screening-ELCAP). This study, which included 517 individuals in CMMC’s service area, identified three cancers that had previously shown no signs or symptoms, according to Maine Research Associates coordinator Crystal Nayock.

Researchers at CMMC reviewed data from a recent study called the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), which compared two ways of detecting lung cancer: low-dose helical (spiral) computed tomography (CT) and standard chest X-ray.

A recent study of more than 53,000 current or former heavy smokers showed that early detection of lung cancer using low-dose CT scans saved lives, but like all medical interventions, was associated with potential risks. You may find it useful to discuss this screening procedure with your primary care clinician.

The study also provided insight into the type of lung cancers found by screening and the stages at which they were diagnosed. Adenocarcinomas, which begin in cells that line the lungs, and squamous cell carcinomas, which arise from the thin, flat fish-scale-like cells that line passages of the respiratory tract, were detected more frequently at the earliest stage by low-dose helical CT compared to chest X-ray. 

Small-cell lung cancers, which are very aggressive tumors that grow in lung tissues, were infrequently detected at early stages by low-dose CT or chest X-ray. Knowing what types of lung cancers are detectable and at what stage they are most detectable by different screening modalities should help researchers refine the use of these tools for future patients.

“What CMMC has done is start its own lung cancer screening program based on its experience with the I-ELCAP study and the information revealed by the NLST investigation,” Nayock said. “We will employ CT scanning instead of conventional chest x-ray technology to examine study participants.”

To participate in the study, an individual must meet the following:

  • be 55 to 74 years of age
  • current or former smoker (former smokers must have quit within the previous 15 years)

Results of the screening will be sent to each participant’s primary care provider. With their permission, patients in need of a primary care provider will be referred to an appropriate healthcare professional

CMMC is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat cancers of the chest. CMMC’s Early Lung Cancer Screening uses a multidisciplinary approach that includes various specialities, all working together to deliver exceptional care.

CMMC supports the latest CT scanning technology and employs trained CT technologists. The hospital’s radiology and pathology staffs are experienced in cancer diagnosis.

The hospital’s surgical staff includes general, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons with special expertise in cancer surgery. The Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center offers both radiation and medical (chemotherapy) oncology services. CMMC also offers the services of pulmonary specialists who provide state-of-the-art care for those living with respiratory diseases.

For more information about CMMC’s Early Lung Cancer Screening, call 207-795-8354.

"Free ME from Lung Cancer is proud to announce receiving a grant in the amount of $15,000 from the Maine Cancer Foundation to help promote and support early detection programs. Free ME from Lung Cancer is collaborating with Central Maine Medical Center and Mercy Hospital to support their early detection program at no cost to qualified patients while funds are available."