Lung Cancer Screening Program at Long Beach Memorial Named Screening Center of Excellence within First Year

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Less than a year after opening, the Lung Cancer Screening Program at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial has been

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 recognized as a Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance for its ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening.

Lung cancer is often found late and in an advanced stage making it harder than other cancers to treat. As a result, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women in the U.S.

A lung cancer screening uses a type of CT scan known as low-dose CT, which allows physicians to view detailed pictures of the chest to help find abnormalities in the lungs that a normal x-ray can’t. A low-dose CT uses lower amounts of radiation than a standard chest CT. Low-dose CT screening for lung cancer carried out safely, efficiently and equitably saves tens of thousands of lives a year. 

“Low-dose CT screening has shown to be the only proven method to detect lung cancer at an early and treatable stage,” says Cathy Kopy, executive director, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Memorial. “We are thrilled to be part of this elite group, setting an example for responsible screening practices across the country. This accreditation is a tribute to the tremendous efforts of our care teams and their dedication to providing high quality care to those receiving a lung cancer screening.”

Designated Screening Centers of Excellence are committed to provide clear information based on current evidence on who is a candidate for lung cancer screening, and to comply with comprehensive standards based on best practices developed by professional bodies, such as the American College of Radiology (ACR), the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP).

“Our Lung Cancer Screening Program is more than just a simple test – it goes beyond that,” says Debbie Oates, RN, ANP-BC, MSN, nurse navigator, Lung Nodule Center, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Memorial. “We know that even the thought of lung cancer is scary to our patients and families. What we’ve built is a comprehensive program that supports our patients from the first conversation when we determine if a screening is right for them, to a diagnosis and throughout their follow-up care.”

An added element to the program is the establishment of the “Freedom from Smoking Program,” which helps tobacco users gain control over their behavior and quit smoking.

“If we screen a patient and determine they don’t have lung cancer, there are still ways we can support them,” says Oates. “Smoking is responsible for close to 90 percent of lung cancer cases and it’s also the most important risk factor that can be modified. To reduce their future risk, we encourage patients to participate in our smoking cessation program.”

“We are proud and honored to be working with Long Beach Memorial as a Lung Cancer Alliance Screening Center of Excellence. Their commitment to practice responsible lung cancer screening will lead to advancements in research and many lives saved. They are an example to follow,” says LCA President and CEO, Laurie Fenton Ambrose.

For more information on the Lung Cancer Screening Program and Freedom from Smoking Program, call 800-MEMORIAL or visit