Hope on the Horizon


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              Hope on the horizon: Low-dose CT scans for lung cancer

It may begin with seemingly innocuous coughing or temporary shortness of breath. But we write it off as a nasty cold or seasonal congestion and decide to forgo seeing our doctor. Soon, our symptoms—whether chest pain or unintended weight loss—become too concerning to ignore, ultimately leading to the diagnosis we never wanted to hear, “You have lung cancer.” Unfortunately, situations like this are still far too common in our state.

Arkansas ranks at the top of the charts for our lung cancer incidence rates and in the bottom tier of states for our five-year survival rates at just 22.6%. However, that is steadily changing with greater access to and use of low-dose CT scans. Data from the American Lung Association shows that these screening tools are—and will continue to—help save lives from lung cancer.

Lung cancer is often referred to as a “silent killer” because its symptoms are variable and generally don’t appear until the disease has progressed. This can result in late diagnosis, which limits patients’ treatment options and effectiveness. Low-dose CT scans are proven early detection tools, helping catch lung cancer sooner, often in less advanced stages. The American Lung Association found that annual low-dose CT scans for high-risk patients can reduce mortality by up to 20%.Receiving a low-dose CT scan is quick and easy, with appointments lasting 30 minutes or less. So, who should consider scheduling a screening? If patients have smoked but have no symptoms of lung cancer, low-dose CT scans can help save their lives. The American Cancer Society recommends that current and former smokers 50-80 years old with a smoking history of at least 20 pack years who are in generally good health with no history or current signs of lung cancer get screened.

CARTI is committed to enhancing eligible patients’ access to low-dose CT scans to help save lives in our state. Individuals interested in scheduling an appointment may visit screening.CARTI.com or call 501-906-4454 for more information. With low-dose CT scans, there’s hope on the horizon for combatting lung cancer in Arkansas.

Sam Makhoul, M.D. is the medical director of clinical research and a board-certified medical oncologist at CARTI, a not-for-profit, multidisciplinary cancer care provider with 18 locations across the state and Arkansas’ first dedicated cancer surgery center.

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