Those who have ever smoked significantly can never escape that nagging
question in the back of their minds. "Will I get lung cancer?"
In response to recently published National Lung Screening Trial results,
which demonstrate a clear advantage to high-risk individuals, Torrance
Memorial Medical Center's
Lung Cancer Program has launched a reduced-cost
Lung Screening Program to enhance early detection and treatment of lung disease.
The cost of the non-contrast CT screening exam is $205 and is the responsibility
of the patient since proactive CT screening is not a covered benefit.
Ordinarily CT scans cost thousands of dollars, which is usually covered
by private insurance when ordered after an adverse event is suspected.
Under the new program, the screenings are suggested for asymptomatic individuals
ages 50 to 74 who have a significant smoking history. A physician referral
"By the time the patient experiences symptoms, the cancer is already
advanced. There is a much greater chance of success if it's caught
John Stoneburner, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon for the Thoracic Oncology Program at Torrance
Memorial Medical Center. "It's a simple step to take for immeasurable
peace of mind."
Those who have been exposed to significant second-hand smoke, may also
want to consider testing. Patients with persistent lung symptoms, e.g.,
cough, hemoptysis or unexplained weight loss, should be referred to a
pulmonologist for imaging as part of a diagnostic work-up.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United
States. A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine showed
CT screenings for smokers and former heavy smokers reduced the death rate
from lung cancer 20 percent.
All patients who undergo CT screening will receive follow up by the
Torrance Memorial Cancer Resource Center nurse navigators that includes education on the importance of physician
follow up and smoking cessation, as appropriate. To learn more about the
benefits and risks of the screening process, call 310-517-4665 or