Recent health study shows higher than national average for lung disease in four states

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JOPLIN, Mo. – A recent study of the Joplin Area shows lung disease is diagnosed far more often than across the nation.

Joplin is one of six areas that was studied by the Ozarks Health Commission. It includes five counties in Missouri, three in Southeast Kansas and one in Northeast Oklahoma. The Joplin Community ranks higher than the national average. Nearly half of all patients in the region in emergency rooms are diagnosed with some type of lung disease.

“They show up in the ER coughing up blood or nagging cough and so they tend to present with more advance stages of lung cancer.”

Catrina Gilstrap, RN, Mercy Cancer Center

There is a program for former and current smokers to try and catch the disease before it’s too late to treat. It’s called Low Dose CT Screening, and it is done each year. Gilstrap says it can reduce the odds of a patient dying from lung cancer by 20 percent or more.

For more information on that screening, go to www.mercy.net

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