Long Beach Memorial Opens New Lung Nodule Center, Diagnosing Lung Cancer Earlier

todd cancer pavilion

The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial announced the opening of its new Lung Nodule Center today. This new center is not only a vital resource for those who have a high risk for lung cancer, but helps anyone diagnosed with lung nodules get ahead of potential disease. The expanded lung screening program provides individualized, comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and follow-up care for those with lung nodules.

Located in the Todd Cancer Pavilion, the new Lung Nodule Center comes at a time when the need for lung cancer care is essential in our communities. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 224,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed this year, and nearly 160,000 people will die of this disease. Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women because lung cancer is typically found too late and in an advanced stage, making it harder than other cancers to treat.

Every resource needed for early detection and treatment of lung cancer is conveniently provided through the new Lung Nodule Center. The Center offers a comprehensive assessment to all patients who have had lung nodules identified on a CT scan to screen for lung cancer, or on scans performed for other diagnostic reasons. A team of specialists, including pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons and diagnostic and interventional radiologists combine a patient’s history, including their cancer risk profile, with their imaging results to make recommendations on how to monitor, evaluate and treat each lung nodule.

All care, starting from the first visit, is managed and coordinated by an experienced nurse navigator who facilitates getting a diagnosis in a timely manner while helping alleviate anxiety.

“The mortality rate for individuals diagnosed with lung cancer in our community continues to be high because when discovered, it is usually advanced. However, it doesn't have to be that way,” says Deborah Oates, RN, ANP-BC, MSN, nurse navigator, Lung Nodule Center, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Memorial. “Our multi-disciplinary team has designed a program to identify lung cancer at the earliest possible stage, when there is a better chance of cure.”

State-of-the-art technology is available at the Lung Nodule Center to assist in helping patients achieve earlier detection of lung cancer. The center utilizes several advanced imaging technologies that range from getting the highest resolution scans, using the lowest amount of radiation, to allowing physicians to sample central lung masses and lymph nodes with the help of ultrasound guidance. One of these technologies is a 320 slice CT scanner, one of only a few in the state of California. 

"Despite medical advances in cancer care, lung cancer survival rates remain poor, but hope is on the horizon,” says Robert Liou, M.D., pulmonologist, Lung Nodule Center, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Memorial. “With the implementation of early screening, lung cancer can be detected and treated at a curable stage thereby increasing survival. It's an exciting time for lung cancer treatment and diagnosis as we see what CT scan screening does for lung cancer as the mammogram once did for breast cancer. It also is an exciting time for the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial because the Lung Nodule Center gives patients the care and hope that they need to beat lung cancer.”