News & Events

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center shines spotlight on Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Date: 11/02/2020

Did you know…

  • Every 3.3 minutes, someone in the US dies of lung cancer.
  • Lung cancer kills 433 Americans each day. That’s the same number of seats on a 747.
  • Lung cancer kills almost two times as many women as breast cancer and has held that lead for more than 30 years.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness month, a time set aside to help raise public awareness about lung cancer, its causes, and available treatments. Despite the alarming statistics stated above, there IS good news!

Early detection is key, and thanks to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Lung Cancer Screening Program, Mainers are able to discover potential issues earlier, resulting in more treatment options, and leading to healthier, better outcomes.

“Our goal is to spread awareness of our program in hopes of enrolling more eligible people at risk for having unrecognized, potentially curable lung cancer,” says John Klemperer, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon and director, Northern Light Lung Cancer Screening Program. “We work to help patients understand the benefits of a lung cancer screening as well as any risks, assist them with insurance questions, and work with the patient and their PCP to ensure they’re receiving appropriate follow up care.”

Living in a rural state, access to convenient screenings can be difficult for many people, and early detection is critically important. Over the past year, the program has partnered with Northern Light hospitals across the state to offer initial lung cancer screenings closer to peoples’ hometowns, including:

  • Northern Light AR Gould Hospital, Presque Isle
  • Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, Blue Hill
  • Northern Light CA Dean Hospital, Greenville
  • Northern Light Inland Hospital, Waterville
  • Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital, Ellsworth
  • Northern Light Mayo Hospital, Dover Foxcroft
  • Northern Light Mercy Hospital, Portland
  • Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital, Pittsfield

To be eligible for a lung cancer screening, a person must meet the following criteria as established by Medicare:

  • 55 to 77 years old;
  • A current or former smoker who has quit within the past 15 years;
  • A smoking pack year history of at least 30 pack years (Example: smoked one pack per day for 30 years equals 30 pack years or smoked two packs per day for 15 years equals 30 pack years);
  • Show no signs or symptoms of lung cancer such as shortness of breath, cough, unintended weight loss;
  • Have not used antibiotics in the last 12 weeks to treat a lung infection.

Certain limitations may apply, so it is important for people to speak with their provider to determine whether a screen is covered under their insurance plan. Medicare and most commercial insurances do allow for lung cancer screenings under specific conditions, but it is best to check in advance.

To learn more about the Northern Light Lung Cancer Screening Program, visit or call 207.973.5822.