New Lung Cancer Screening Program at LB Memorial Helps Detect Lung Cancer in Earlier Stages

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New Lung Cancer Screening Program at LB Memorial Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, usually because it tends to not be discovered until it has reached an advanced stage. The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute (TCI) in collaboration with the MemorialCare Imaging Center at Long Beach Memorial has launched a valuable new service for the community – an Early Lung Cancer Detection program. This program has been created to help answer the need for a screening program of lung cancer in high-risk individuals with the use of a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scanner.

In order to combat lung cancer being the leading cause of cancer death, the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial was conducted – a randomized trial, to determine whether screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT), as compared with chest radiography, would reduce mortality from lung cancer among high-risk persons. More than 50,000 persons at high risk for lung cancer at 33 U.S. medical centers were randomly assigned to undergo annual screenings with either low-dose CT or chest radiography. The research findings from the trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and revealed several interesting findings regarding the efficacy of low dose CT scanning of the chest as a screening tool for lung cancer. The authors concluded that screening with the use of low-dose CT reduces mortality from lung cancer by 20 percent in patients who are high-risk for lung cancer. This method of screening also is recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

Due to the importance of these findings, Long Beach Memorial now offers a low-dose, non-contrast CT scan to screen high-risk patients for lung cancer. By using this approach, physicians anticipate to find more lung cancer cases at an earlier stage of growth and improve survival rates. Another benefit to low-dose radiation imaging is that the amount of radiation a person would receive is significantly reduced as compared to that of a standard-dose diagnostic CT.

“By offering a low-dose CT scan to screen for lung cancer in high-risk individuals, Long Beach Memorial is providing an essential and important service to our community,” says Thomas Asciuto, M.D., medical director, Thoracic Oncology, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Memorial. “Five year survival rates for early stage 1 lung cancer is 70 percent, but only 15 percent of lung cancer patients are discovered at this early stage. Most patient with advanced stages have five year survival rates of 15 percent. This screening program will hopefully increase early detection and reduce overall lung cancer mortality by 20 percent.”

Patients should be 55 to 74 years of age with a 30 year, pack-a-day history of smoking or smoking cessation less than 15 years. Other eligible patients should be 50 years or older with a 20 year,
pack-a-day history of smoking or greater and be asymptomatic. The scan is done in approximately 20 to 30 seconds and once complete, a radiologist will interpret the scan. Whether positive or negative, patients and their primary care physician will be notified of the results. If a report comes back positive with signs of early lung cancer, a multi-disciplinary team from the Thoracic Oncology Program at TCI will determine a comprehensive treatment plan. The lung cancer screening CT scan is by physician referral only and costs $295, since this procedure is not yet covered by medical insurance. Appointments can be scheduled by calling the Imaging Center at (562) 661-1001.

About the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute:
The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute (TCI) at Long Beach Memorial is dedicated to the early diagnosis, treatment, research and education of patients with cancer or serious blood disorders. TCI specializes in the divisions of gynecology, breast, thoracic, gastrointestinal and urinary cancers. TCI offers a wide- array of support programs such as the Cancer Risk and Prevention Program for genetic counseling, and psychosocial services to help patients improve their quality of life while dealing with cancer. Recognized as one of the top two cancer centers in Southern California for having the lowest complication rate, nearly 2,000 people are treated for cancer at TCI annually. Through interdisciplinary treatment planning conferences, TCI experts develop specialized treatment plans that are personalized to the specific needs of each patient. TCI recently broke ground on a new 64,000 sq. ft. pavilion that will co-locate its oncologists with many of the outpatient services routinely needed for patients battling cancer. Visit, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About the MemorialCare Imaging Center:
The MemorialCare Imaging Center at Long Beach Memorial offers a variety of diagnostic services and therapeutic treatments using a wide range of imaging technology and modalities. The MemorialCare Imaging Center is a leader in new technology, being one of only three hospitals in Calif. with a 320 Slice CT Scanner. The services and treatments offered range from breast imaging, computed tomography scans, diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, interventional radiology and uterine fibroid embolization, a safe and effective alternative to surgery. Long Beach Memorial’s imaging specialists are highly trained and licensed in numerous radiological procedures. Our compassionate radiologists provide the highest quality of patient and family centered care. Visit, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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