Torrance, Calif., October 4, 2011 - In response to recently published National Lung Screening Trial results which demonstrate a clear advantage to high-risk individuals, Torrance Memorial Medical Center's Thoracic Oncology Program has launched a reduced-cost CT Lung Screening Program to enhance early detection and treatment of lung disease.
The cost of the non-contrast CT screening exam is $350 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 is required.
"So many smokers and former smokers live with the nagging fear of lung cancer," said John Stoneburner, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon for the Thoracic Oncology Program at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. "By the time the patient experiences symptoms, the cancer is already advanced. There is a much greater chance of success if it's caught early. It's a simple step to take for immeasurable peace of mind."
Stoneburner said 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 this month showed CT screenings for smokers and former heavy smokers reduced the death rate from lung cancer by 20 percent. Authors of the study noted that radiation exposure was also very low-about the same as flying in an airplane.
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. Patients with negative findings are recommended to have repeat screening annually for two years.
For more information on the program call 310-517-4665.
About Torrance Memorial Medical Center
Founded in 1925 by Jared Sydney and Helena Childs Torrance, Torrance Memorial Medical Center is a locally governed, 401-bed, non-profit medical center established to provide quality healthcare services, predominantly to the residents of the South Bay, Peninsula and Harbor communities. Torrance Memorial seeks to offer the most current and effective medical technologies rendered in a compassionate, caring manner. For more information please visit: