Lung cancer is the second-most common cancer in both men and women. Often, by the time symptoms of lung cancer—such as coughing up blood or chest pain—present themselves, the cancer has advanced and is more difficult to treat. Because of this, lung cancer screening is available and encouraged for eligible patients at UHS.
What is lung cancer screening?
Lung cancer screening is noninvasive and involves a low-dose CT scan, which takes pictures of the lungs in order to detect cancerous nodules and small tumors. The low-dose scan uses up to 90% less radiation than a standard CT scan. It can also show other conditions or diseases that need to be treated, such as emphysema.
New Oncology Nurse Navigator Joins UHS
In order to enhance the lung cancer screening program and make the process easier for patients, UHS has added a new oncology nurse navigator who specializes in lung cancer, Rita Kanaar, RN (learn more in “Finding a Way”). Ms. Kanaar will be working closely with the screening program as well as with oncology staff to enhance the clinical navigation of patients diagnosed with lung cancer.
Who should be screened?
Patients at high risk of lung cancer should consider being screened. Factors that increase your risk of lung cancer include smoking or being around secondhand smoke at home or work, as well as a family history of lung cancer.
Additionally, individuals at risk for lung cancer can now take a proactive approach with an annual screening available to current and former smokers between the ages of 55 and 77, and those who have a total of 30 “pack years”—smoking a pack a day for a year. To be eligible for the screening, former smokers must have stopped within the last 15 years.
“It’s very important that patients with a history of smoking get counseled and screened,” says Regina Schaffer, multi-specialty manager at UHS. “You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken, and we want to get it taken care of as soon as possible, because the outcome can be really good if caught early.”
Where can I get screened?
UHS offers low-dose CT scans at the Vestal Parkway location, UHS Wilson Medical Center and UHS Binghamton General Hospital. You do not need to be an established UHS patient to undergo a scan. However, you will need an order from a healthcare provider.
To be properly screened, contact your primary care provider or call UHS Stay Healthy at 607-763-6060, or visit nyuhs.org. Most insurance carriers cover the screening—check prior to scheduling your appointment to be sure.