by Debbie Smart, LPN
Lexington Clinic Lung Program Nurse Navigator

In 2016, approximately 225 thousand new cases of lung cancer were expected to be diagnosed. In Kentucky alone, lung cancer kills more people than the next eight most common cancers combined.  It has become not only the most common, but also one of the most deadly, cancers in our society. And the state of Kentucky has the highest rates in our nation.

For these reasons, lung cancer screenings are recommended in at-risk populations in order to catch this deadly disease early. Currently, lung cancer screening is recommended for patients ages 55-80 with a smoking history of 30 years or more and either currently smoke or have quit smoking in the past 15 years. 

Other patients who may be at risk for developing lung cancer include:
  • Patients with a history of exposure to second hand smoke
  • Patients exposed to radon gas
  • Patients exposed to asbestos and other carcinogens, such as arsenic, chromium and nickel
  • Patients with a family history of lung cancer
At Lexington Clinic, patients who meet a certain criteria are screened for lung cancer using CT scans involving no-contrast dye and minimal exposure to radiation.  (If you are 55-77 years old and have Medicare coverage, you may qualify to receive this screening at no cost to you.) To find out if you meet these criteria, or if you have any questions about your personal risk of developing lung cancer, please visit or call (859) 258-4062.

Debbie Smart, LPN, is the Lung Program Nurse Navigator for Lexington Clinic. With more than 25 years of nursing experience, Debbie possesses an in-depth understanding of the criteria required for each patient seeking a lung cancer screening at Lexington Clinic. Throughout the screening process, Debbie provides the best patient care possible by maintaining positive relationships with patients and family members. In addition to helping patients through the screening process, she also serves as a personal resource regarding lung screening recommendations and provides education and resources to patients to help them make informed decisions.