Lung Cancer

You are not alone. MaineGeneral is here to help you or your loved one with a lung cancer diagnosis.

You have access to a complete set of services for state-of-the-art care, including diagnostic testing and treatment with specialists in thoracic surgery, medical and radiation oncology and interventional pulmonology through the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care. This care is available in one place, right here in the Kennebec Valley. There is no need to travel to get a screening done and, if needed, treatment.

Lung cancer usually doesn't have symptoms until it has advanced, but there are tools to catch lung cancer early. Early detection and treatment can save your life.

Caught at Stage I, for example, the chance of five-year survival is 80 percent; that rate drops to a less than 10 percent chance of survival when lung cancer is caught in Stage III or Stage IV.

Screening

MaineGeneral performs lung cancer screening under The Maine Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program. Find out more.

The Maine Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program provides screening for lung cancer in people who are at a high risk for developing the disease due to age and smoking history. The aim of this program is to find lung cancers early, before there are symptoms. Lung cancers found at an early stage, before they have had a chance to spread, have the best treatment options and outcomes.

See a Patient Message about Lung Cancer Screening

A National Institutes of Health study found the risk of dying of lung cancer could be reduced by at least 20 percent with the use of a low-dose CT scan of the chest. This kind of X-ray does not need any preparation and can be done in less than five minutes. The scan is painless.

Talk with your health care provider about lung cancer screening if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You are between 50-80 years old
  • You currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years
  • You have smoked an amount that is equal to or greater than 20 pack years, such as:
    • 1 pack a day for 20 years, or
    • 2 packs a day for 10 years

A low-dose CT (LDCT) scan is used to look for early-stage lung cancer in people with a long history of smoking. The LDCT scan does not hurt and takes less than 5 minutes to complete.

For people who are eligible, the cost of lung cancer screening is covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. However, the details of exactly who qualifies can vary. For example, some insurance plans may cover screening for people of slightly different ages or history of pack years. Call your health insurance company to confirm the specific details of your plan.

Prevention

Most people know that tobacco use causes most lung cancers. Maine’s smoking rate is higher than the national average (19.8 percent in Maine compared to 17 percent nationally). We have a higher rate of those who get and die from lung cancer than national rates.

Lung cancer also can occur in people who have never smoked. Being exposed to radon and asbestos can lead to lung cancer. Maine has higher rates of radon and asbestos found in our homes than in other parts of the country.

Contact Us

Medical Oncology
(207) 621-6100

Radiation Oncology
(207) 621-9400