Debbie Oates is a nurse practitioner and nurse navigator for the Lung Cancer Screening Program and Lung Nodule Center at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center. In her role as nurse navigator, Debbie guides each patient through the evaluation and treatment process after the discovery of a lung nodule or mass, coordinates care and facilitates a timely diagnosis, while easing anxieties for patients and their families.
Life expectancy for lifetime smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that for non-smokers and it has been estimated that active smoking is responsible for close to 90% of lung cancer cases. Lung cancer is often found late and in an advanced stage making it difficult to treat. However, smoking is the most important risk factor for lung cancer that can be modified. Quitting smoking is very difficult, but the success rate is high with the right help.