According to the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with an estimated 130,180 Americans lost annually. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, with former or current smokers being at the highest risk of getting the disease.
Charles Martin was a former smoker who quit 10 years ago. As he’s gotten older, and after consultation with his primary care doctor, he was encouraged to receive a lung screening to ensure his lungs were healthy. Charles was referred to the Lung Program at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center for a screening.
Low-dose CT lung screenings benefit former or current smokers because they can detect lung cancer before symptoms show. They are essential in detecting lung cancer early, when it is the most treatable.
Katherine ‘Kitty’ Campuzano, RN, BSN, OCN, nurse navigator, Lung Program, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Medical Center, assisted Charles with the screening process.
“The process for Charles to get screened was very simple,” says Campuzano. “He was instructed to lay on a table while the scanner moved up and down his chest. The screening took no more than five minutes to complete and did not require any intravenous drugs or fasting.”
The amount of radiation low-dose CT lung screenings require is also significantly less than the amount of a standard CT scan, so patients are not exposed to as much radiation.
“Getting my lungs screened was really easy,” says Martin. “They checked me in and took me to a room to get scanned. I was told to breathe in and breathe out three times and that was it.”
The Lung Program at MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute consists of a team of physician experts who guide patients through the process of screening, evaluation and treatment of lung cancer. Patients also receive a nurse navigator to provide expert education and resources as they undergo treatment, and help them navigate with their primary care physician and referral process.
Due to the negative stigma around lung cancer, the amount of lung screenings in the U.S. is very low compared to other types of cancer. The Lung Program at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center hopes to increase their number of screenings for high-risk patients this year.
Lung screenings save lives. We at MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute would like to see more patients get their lungs screened to save more lives.
Katherine ‘Kitty’ Campuzano, RN, BSN, OCN, nurse navigator, Lung Program, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Medical Center
Charles will get his lung screening results in the next few weeks to find out if he has lung cancer and what his next steps for treatment are if he does have lung cancer. He hopes his decision to get his lungs screened inspires others to get screened as well.
Getting my lungs screened was very easy and I recommend that everyone go and get their lung screened. It’s better for their health, especially if they used to smoke like me.