A large, eight-year National Cancer Institute research study has shown that by screening certain groups of current and former smokers with a low dose CT scan, tumors can be detected early and reduce lung cancer mortality by 20 percent.
Since, in its earlier stages, lung cancer does not present with telltale symptoms, this program is designed to detect lung cancer at an earlier stage. Until now, most individuals with lung cancer have been diagnosed with late-stage disease. Earlier detection will provide an opportunity for more effective treatment.
Low-dose CT imaging is a non-invasive technology. Unlike an x-ray, it provides a more detailed view of the lungs, and the ability to detect disease at an earlier stage.
Who should consider screening?
You and your physician will decide whether you are eligible for screening. The criteria for screening are strict and are as follows:
- Individuals 55-74 years of age current or former smokers with a 30 pack year history (a pack year is the number of packs smoked daily multiplied by the number of years smoking). Former smokers must have quit within the past 15 years.
- Individuals 50 years and older with a 20 pack year history and one additional risk factor. Additional risk factors include certain occupational exposures, cancer history and a disease history of pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, chronic bronchitis. Your physician will help you determine your risk factors.
How the program works
Because this is so new, most healthcare insurance providers and Medicare do not cover this screening. Virtua will offer screenings to those patients that meet the screening criteria for $150. The discounted fee will only be offered to those meeting the strict screening criteria. The test requires an order from a physician, which may be provided by a primary care specialist or a lung specialist.
A team of specialists in place
The Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program lung cancer board-certified specialists provide a multidisciplinary treatment plan working collaboratively to address all aspects of patient care including: Pulmonologists, radiologists, thoracic surgeons, radiation and medical oncologists, nurse navigators, social workers and dietitians and other support services as needed to ensure the highest quality of care for our patients.
Learn more about lung cancer screening
If you have questions about the program, call (856) 247-7370 and press #2. One of our lung nurse navigators will answer questions, assist you with a referral to a primary care physician and help you throughout the process.
For information about smoking cessation, please call 1-866-657-8677.