Where There’s Smoke, There’s a Screening
Lung cancer diagnosed in its later stages is virtually incurable, but an early-stage diagnosis can lead to survival rates of nearly 50 percent.
Despite the success of an initial prognosis, no widely accepted annual screening for lung cancer has previously existed. Chest X-rays have sometimes been used to screen for suspicious nodules, but this imaging test doesn’t always identify stage-1 tumors.
Now, a new screening tool is being offered at Hudson Valley Hospital Center (HVHC) to detect early-stage lung cancer.
Early = Effective
Computed tomography (CT) screening for lung cancer can produce more-detailed images than X-rays, while still delivering a low dose of radiation—about the same amount as a mammogram.
Studies have shown CT screening for lung cancer leads to better outcomes for patients than X-ray screening.
Charles Abate, MD, Medical Director of Respiratory Therapy at HVHC, points to a key study published in the August 2011 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. The U.S. study followed more than 50,000 lung cancer patients who had been screened using either X-ray or CT.
“The study found that using low-dose CT led to a 20 percent reduction in mortality compared to X-ray,” Dr. Abate says. “Because it allows us to diagnose patients at an early stage, this screening can lead to better treatment and improve patient survivorship and quality of life.”
The American Lung Association recommends low-dose CT screening for people who:
• are between 55 and 74 years old,
• are current smokers or have quit within the last 15 years, and
• have smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years.
“The goal of the whole process is, that by using CT scans, we can see small cancers, cancers that have not spread to other areas of the body, and cancers that can be operated on and cured by surgery,” says Cynthia Chin, MD, Thoracic Surgeon who is on staff at HVHC along with her partners, Drs. Scott Berman, Todd Weiser, and Robert Striesand.
To learn more about lung cancer screening, call the Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Cancer Center at 914-734-8400 or visit hvhc.org for more information.
Hudson Valley Hospital Center
1980 Crompond Road
Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567