Lung Cancer Screenings Are On The Rise Nationwide

Recent announcements that Peter Jennings and Dana Reeve were battling lung cancer have doctors busier than ever, at least on a national level.

Examinations for the disease are on on the rise, but not in East Texas. Doctors say East Texans are just as concerned about their health as anyone else, but many just can't afford to get checked out.

Dr. Cody Duvall, chief of radiology at Woodland Heights Medical Center, said, "Insurance companies fail to pay, medicare fails to pay, and I think it's very difficult to screen an entire population of people at risk [because of] the cost."

Even if you may have to pay out of pocket, you should still get examined, especially if you smoke, work around chemicals or in a smoking environment.

"Go to your doctor and see if you're a candidate for a screening, and see if you're at risk. Probably the first thing to do is to see a physician and have a clinical exam and a physical taken."

Being at risk for the disease, like many East Texans are, doesn't mean your insurance will cover the cost of a screening.

"Just being at risk or having a smoking history or exposure history, I don't think has been adequate enough to overcome that obstacle, but having a definitive clinical symptom has been very helpful."

Most insurance companies won't pay for lung cancer examinations unless the patient has symptoms of the disease, but by the time symptoms are present, it's usually too late for treatment.

Lung cancer is not always caused by smoking, but it is a factor in 98 percent of all cases.