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Front Page - Friday, February 2, 2018

CHI Memorial introduces mobile lung CT coach

CHI Memorial, the Rees Skillern Cancer Institute and Buz Standefer Lung Center have introduced a new way to screen for lung cancer. Breathe Easy is a mobile health coach with a low-dose computed tomography machine. This technology is the first of its kind in the Chattanooga region and the only fully independent unit in the nation.

“Lung cancer is curable if we can catch it early. This screening is the best way to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages,” says Rob Headrick, M.D., thoracic surgeon, CHI Memorial Chest and Lung Cancer Center. “The Breathe Easy mobile coach allows us to take this important screening tool into our communities and reach people who might not have the opportunity to get this scan otherwise. It’s an important step toward changing the lung cancer statistics in the Chattanooga region.”

Lung cancer symptoms do not usually occur until the cancer is advanced and may include persistent cough, sputum streaked with blood, chest pain, voice change, worsening shortness of breath and recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis. A low-dose CT screening can identify signs of lung cancer in otherwise healthy people.

The low-dose CT scan shows a three-dimensional image of the lungs that’s clearer and more detailed than regular x-rays, allowing doctors to diagnose lung cancer at its earliest stage, before there are symptoms. This is when lung cancer is most curable. The whole process takes less than ten minutes and there’s no need to do anything special to prepare for the screening.

The low-dose CT lung cancer scan has been shown to improve survival by 20 percent, according to The National Lung Screening Trial by the National Cancer Institute.

Private insurance companies cover lung cancer screening for high-risk individuals (people with a history of smoking, a family history of cancer, or a history of exposure to cancer causing agents such as asbestos, diesel fumes, radon, coal smoke, or soot). Medicare and Medicaid also cover lung cancer screening.

The Breathe Easy mobile lung CT coach will serve 11 counties in Tennessee, eight counties in North Georgia, and two counties in Northeast Alabama.

The Breathe Easy mobile lung CT coach is made possible by the support of two anonymous donors to the CHI Memorial Foundation and Electric Power Board. Grantors are helping fund outreach efforts, and screenings for the underserved who will be reached by the mobile lung CT coach.

Information: 423 495-LUNG (5864). To schedule the coach for an event: 423 495-2540.

Source: CHI Memorial