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Lung Cancer Prevention and Detection

Lung Cancer Screening, Diagnosis and the Latest Treatment Options

Memorial Hermann-TMC affiliated cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Philip Rascoe discusses lung cancer screening, diagnosis and the latest treatment options available for the treatment of lung cancer.

Did You Know?

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It is the most common cancer in men and women combined after skin cancer.
  • Lung cancer kills 160,000 Americans every year - more than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.
  • More than 222,500 people get diagnosed with lung cancer every year.

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use, including smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes, now or in the past
  • 90% of lung cancer patients are current or former smokers.
  • Second-hand smoke exposure. Second-hand smoke exposure increases chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.
  • Exposure to asbestos, arsenic, chromium, nickel or other substances in the workplace
  • Exposure to radon, which can be found in the home as well as in the workplace
  • Family history of lung cancer

Low-Dose CT (LDCT) Lung Cancer Screening and Monitoring

Low-Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) is an effective tool in screening for lung cancer and should be done before there are any symptoms. The goal of an LDCT lung screening is to save lives. Without this screening test, lung cancer is usually not found until a person develops symptoms. At that time, the cancer is much harder to treat. This quick, non-invasive procedure looks for abnormal lesions that could be a potential cancer. Screening with low-dose CT has been shown in the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) to reduce by 20 percent the risk of death from lung cancer among current or former smokers, aged 55 to 77 who have a smoking history of at least 30 pack years (a pack year is equal to one pack or 20 cigarettes a day for one year) The lung nodule program monitors abnormal lesions detected on the CT scan to discover cancer at the earliest possible stage. A specialist in the disease of lungs determines what additional tests are needed to diagnose potential lung cancer.

Who should get an LDCT lung screening exam?

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), LDCT lung screening is recommended for groups of people who are at high risk of lung cancer. High-risk patients fit the following criteria:

  • Are aged 55-77 and
  • Currently, or in the past, have smoked at least one pack a day for 30 years and
  • Are a current smoker or one who has quit within the last 15 years and
  • Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer

Health outcomes, benefits and risks are important for your physician to consider when recommending an LDCT lung screening. Not all those who smoke may fit the criteria necessary for screening. Your healthcare provider or a Lung Nurse Navigator at one of our screening locations can help you determine if you fit the criteria appropriate for receiving an LDCT lung screening.

At Memorial Hermann your lung cancer screening will include:

  • Shared decision-making appointment with a pulmonologist to help you decide whether lung screening is the right choice.
  • Low-dose CT Scan for imaging and interpretation by board certified radiologist.
  • Prompt, reliable follow-up of screening detected nodules facilitated by an oncology nurse navigator.
  • Smoking cessation counseling.
  • Multidisciplinary input from our experienced team of specialist in pulmonary medicine, diagnostic radiology, thoracic surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology.

How much does the screening cost?

Most insurance plans will cover the screening if you fit one of the high-risk categories. For patients whose insurance does not cover the screening, we offer it at an all-inclusive, cash price of $150. Any additional testing you may need, based on the results from the screening, will be billed to your insurance.

For more information on Low-Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening, please click here.

Schedule Your Lung Cancer Screening Online

Our easy-to-use appointment scheduling tool allows you to set up your lung cancer screening appointment online.

Please note: You will need an order for the lung screening from your healthcare provider before your exam. If you do not have a physician’s order, a Lung Nurse Navigator at one of our screening locations can help you obtain the order, get scheduled for your test, or answer any questions.

Where can I find help to quit smoking?

The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking. In tandem with Memorial Hermann’s Lung Cancer Screening Program, a dedicated team of Oncology Nurse Navigators offer tobacco cessation counseling to help patients quit using tobacco products and educate them on lung cancer prevention. For more information, please click here.