The Lung Cancer Screening Program:
For those at high-risk for lung cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Five-year survival rates for lung cancer are only about 15%, in part because most patients already have advanced lung cancer by the time the diagnosis is made.
Early detection of lung cancer is an important opportunity for decreasing mortality. Recent studies support using low-dose CT scans of the chest to screen select patients who are at high risk for lung cancer. The goal of screening is to detect cancer at an early stage when treatment is more successful. This is usually before it has caused any symptoms.
The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) began in 2002 and the results were published in 2011. The results of that study showed there were 20% fewer lung cancer related deaths in high risk patients screened with CT compared to patients screened with traditional chest X-rays.
At OHH, our lung cancer screening program is based on the NLST and the guidelines published by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). We have assembled a multidisciplinary team consisting of pulmonologists, radiologists, thoracic surgeons and clinicians to oversee your care.
Who is High Risk for Lung Cancer?
Appropriate candidates for the lung cancer screening are individuals who meet the criteria below:
If, you are:
A current or former smoker age 55 - 74 with a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years. (this means 1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.)
Then, you are in the group at highest risk for lung cancer and screening for lung cancer is recommended for you.
If, you are:
A current or former smoker age 50 - 74 with a smoking history of at least 20 pack-years. (this means 1 pack a day for 20 years, 2 packs a day for 10 years, etc.) and an additional risk factor of any of the following:
- A personal or family history of cancer
- Exposure to: radon, silica, cadmium, asbestos, arsenic, beryllium, chromium, diesel fumes, nickel
- Diagnosed with COPD, emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis
Then, you are in a group of high risk for lung cancer and screening for lung cancer is recommended for you.
A Multidisciplinary Approach
The National Lung Cancer screening guidelines recommend that lung screening programs consist of multidisciplinary teams who are skilled in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of abnormal lung nodules. Following these guidelines Oklahoma Heart Hospital has created an integrated team of specialists who collectively provide diagnoses and treatment plans that are customized for each patient.
The program at Oklahoma Heart Hospital Campus is based on the research-based guidelines from the following organizations:
- National Lung Screening Trial
- American Lung Association
- American College of Chest Physicians
- American Cancer Society
- American Association of Thoracic Surgery
Follow-up Treatment Options:
All patients with a positive scan will receive a fast-track referral to see one of our lung specialists that will include additional testing.
Treatment options may include:
- Monitoring nodule for future growth
- Biopsy of suspicious nodules
- Surgery to remove nodules
After testing, if you have additional questions about your results, program directors are available to answer any questions and can be reached by calling the location where you received your scan.
North Campus Program Director
Mary Bass, NP
South Campus Program Director
Wendy Lawson, MPH, RRT, AE-C
Is a Lung Scan Program Right for You?
Screening for lung cancer means testing for cancer before there are any symptoms. The results of the NLST have proven that there is a significant advantage in using low dose CT scans over X-rays to screen for lung cancer in high risk adults. CT scans however are not recommended for everyone and they have risks as well as benefits. Below are some common questions and answers about participating in a Lung Cancer Screening Program that uses CT scans. For more information about whether the Lung Cancer Screening Program is right for you feel free to contact us at: 405-608-3635.