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Advanced Lung Center

Westmoreland County exceeds the state and national incidence rate for lung cancer and lung cancer is the leading cause of death in Butler County. At Independence Health System, coordinating lung and pulmonary services is a priority for our communities.

To combat these rates, IHS offers the Advanced Lung Center under the direction of Michael F. Szwerc, MD, board certified general and thoracic surgeon. The Advanced Lung Center offers patients low-dose CT imaging, a means of ruling out or detecting lung cancer at its earliest stages.

A low dose CT scan aids in finding cancer sooner and with early detection generally, more treatment options may be available.

Now more than ever, advanced screening can detect lung cancers earlier, so individuals can have more treatment options and get better outcomes. The screening utilizes a “low-dose” CT scan to find any nodules especially in people who do not yet show any signs of lung cancer but may be considered high risk for the disease. Remember, the screening is a process, not a single test. An individual must adhere to the screening for early detection.

Who Should Consider a Lung Cancer Screening?

  • Individual is age 50 to 80
  • Individual is a current or former smoker with a 20 pack-year history.
  • If the individual is a former smoker, that smoker must have quit within the last 15 years

About Lung Cancer Screening

  • Chance of finding cancer is greater with the screening
  • Early detection usually means there are more treatment options available
  • The screening itself does not prevent cancer; it is a way to detect cancer, if present
  • Extremely low risk of developing cancer from the CT scan radiation
  • There can be a “false positive” reading, meaning the nodules detected may not be cancerous
  • There may be an added need for more testing if a nodule is detected

As a preventive medical service, the cost of the screening is typically covered by Medicare. Private insurance companies are starting to follow the same Medicare guidelines. Our staff will authorize all coverage and notify you of any out-of-pocket charges that may be required. Affordable out-of-pocket payment options are available for those who do not meet criteria, are without insurance coverage or for whom insurance has denied coverage. For additional information, please call 724-689-1440.

How to Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment in the Butler Area call 724-284-6211.

For more information or to schedule an appointment in the Westmoreland area, call 724-689-1440 today. Our staff will schedule your appointment if you meet the requirements listed above.

Most insurances, including Highmark, UPMC and Medicare, cover the screening cost. Please contact your insurance provider to verify coverage.

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is an aggressive form of cancer in which lung cells begin to multiply in an abnormal manner and form a tumor. The cells in this tumor are then qualified as “cancerous” as they start to destroy healthy cells and tissue in the lung. They may even spread to other parts of the body. The best way to avoid lung cancer is to avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. It is difficult to identify lung cancer before it spreads as initial symptoms are mild. Be on the lookout for persistent coughing, swelling in the neck, chest pain, and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to discuss them with your provider.

It's Never Too Late to Quit

No matter how long you have been smoking, your body will benefit from stopping. Studies show that quitting helps everyone regardless of their age or even if they have smoked for decades. Improvements in your health can manifest in just a few days of quitting, including improved circulation, easier breathing, and improved sense of taste and smell. Quitting also reduces the chances of developing pneumonia, stroke, cancer, and emphysema. Many have successfully stopped smoking, the habit is breakable, and the benefits are substantial.

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