The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute (TCI) in collaboration with the MemorialCare Imaging Center at Long Beach Memorial, located in Long Beach, Calif, has launched a new service for the community—an early lung cancer detection program. The program, which uses a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scanner, was created to serve the community need for a lung cancer screening program in high-risk individuals.

“By offering a low-dose CT scan to screen for lung cancer in high-risk individuals, Long Beach Memorial is providing an essential and important service to our community,” says Thomas Asciuto, MD, medical director in thoracic oncology at MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute. “Five year survival rates for early stage-1 lung cancer is 70%, but only 15% of lung cancer patients are discovered at this early stage. Most patient with advanced stages have 5-year survival rates of 15%. This screening program will hopefully increase early detection and reduce overall lung cancer mortality by 20%.”

Patients should be 55 to 74 years of age with a 30 year, pack-a-day history of smoking or smoking cessation less than 15 years. Other eligible patients should be 50 years or older with a 20 year, pack-a-day history of smoking or greater and be asymptomatic. The scan is done in approximately 20 to 30 seconds and once complete, a radiologist will interpret the scan. Whether positive or negative, patients and their primary care physician will be notified of the results. If a report comes back positive with signs of early lung cancer, a multidisciplinary team from the thoracic oncology program at TCI will determine a comprehensive treatment plan. The lung cancer screening CT scan is by physician referral only and costs $295 The procedure is not yet covered by medical insurance.

Source: MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute