TV Commercial Sparks Suffolk County Woman to Push for a CT-Scan
Carolyn Merrone joins Lung Association in Educating Others About Potentially Lifesaving Test during Lung Cancer Awareness Month
(November 18, 2015) -
When Carolyn Merrone sat down to watch television two years ago, she wasn’t expecting to view a commercial that would change her life forever. Merrone, of Farmingville said if it wasn’t for a television commercial promoting the importance of CT-scans, she may have never gone to the doctor’s to get one. Now, Carolyn is joining the Lung Association this November during Lung Cancer Awareness Month, to encourage other smokers and former smokers to ask their doctors if a CT-scan might be right for them.
A smoker since she was 18 years old, Merrone, now 56, received chest X-rays with no signs of potential lung disease. However, after receiving her first CT-scan, doctors detected spots on her lungs. While the spots were not found to be cancerous, doctors are still monitoring Carolyn. “The feeling you have while you’re waiting for those results doesn’t leave you; it makes you think twice before lighting up a cigarette,” Merrone said. Following her scan, Merrone quit smoking.
“All too often lung cancer has no symptoms until the disease has progressed to a later stage,” said Jeff Seyler, President& CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Our goal is to identify the cancer as early as possible when it is most treatable and the chances for survival are the greatest. That’s why we’re so grateful to people like Carolyn Merrone who are helping us raise awareness about the availability of screening and helping us spread the word that screening can save lives.”
Seyler explained that earlier this year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the final National Coverage Determination for Screening for Lung Cancer with Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT). Medicare will cover annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT in adults aged 55 to 77 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. The USPSTF estimates that if everyone who is at high risk is screened, there will be a 14 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths in the United States.
Merrone hopes to see more commercials for CT-scans in the future. “There are so many preventative measures out there, it’s just a matter of who knows about them,” Merrone said. Carolyn says she informs other smokers about CT-scans and the importance of following up with them after having a chest x-ray. “It’s imperative we educate others that this option is there for them to catch anything before it’s too late,” Merrone said.
To find out more about lung cancer screening and whether you might or a loved one might be a candidate, visit LungCancerScreeningSavesLives.org . To learn more about the American Lung Association and LUNG FORCE, the Lung Association’s new initiative to make lung cancer in women a public health priority, drive policy change and increase research funding. visit www.lung.org.