Free lung scans offered to military vets

In honor of American veterans and in observance of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Franciscan St. Francis Health is offering free lung scans to at-risk veterans during the month of November. Veterans have a 25 to 50 percent higher risk of lung cancer than civilian populations due to higher smoking rates and exposure to known carcinogens during active duty, such as Agent Orange, asbestos and battlefield combustibles.

According to the Lung Cancer Alliance, currently 32.2 percent of active duty military personnel smoke versus 19.8 percent of adults in the civilian population and 22 percent of veterans.

“As a lung cancer screening center, we believe it’s important that we provide safe screenings to at-risk populations,” said Nadeem Ikhlaque, M.D., lung cancer program medical director at Franciscan St. Francis Cancer Center. “Risk assessment and early detection of lung cancer are especially crucial for veterans as they have a significant higher risk of the disease than the civilian population.”

Screening those at high risk with low-dose CT scans can identify lung cancer at an early and most curable stage even before symptoms occur. Franciscan St. Francis Health is among 14 medical centers nationally – and the only hospital in Indiana – to participate in the free screenings initiative, which is spearheaded by LCA and the Vietnam Veterans of America.

To qualify for the free screening, veterans must be between the ages of 55 and 75 and a long-time smoker. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 1-877-888-1777.

“Screening for lung cancer using low-dose radiation CT scans has the potential to save thousands of lives,” said Ikhlaque. “We encourage all veterans to learn more about their risk and to consider a lung screening.”