May 22, 2013
For immediate release
Contact: Gerry Ewing / 503-681-1654
One of the great killers of our time could become more treatable, even curable, as a result of an innovative screening program that will begin in early June at Tuality Healthcare.
The program will use a low-dose CT scan to screen for lung cancer, rather than the traditional chest X-ray. Lung cancer is by far the deadliest form of cancer, with lung cancer deaths exceeding the next four types of cancer combined.
The lung cancer screening program, under the guidance of Tuality pulmonologists Peter Hahn and Srinivas Mummadi, will be the first offered in the Portland metropolitan area. Hospitals in Salem and Bend have started similar screening programs.
“The Holy Grail of lung cancer is to find a way to screen people to find the cancer early enough that we can effectively treat it,” said Dr. Hahn, who serves as medical director of critical care and sleep medicine at Tuality. “Currently, lung cancer is usually diagnosed at advanced stages leading to poor survival rates.”
In 2011, the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial was published. This important study found a 20-percent reduction in deaths from lung cancer among heavy smokers who were screened with a low-dose CT scan versus those screened by chest X-ray. The trial involved over 53,000 current and involved current and former smokers ages 55 to 74.
Low-dose CT scan screening can result in more Stage I and Stage II lung cancer diagnoses, rather than the more deadly Stage III and Stage IV diagnoses. “With Stage I, you have a survival rate of close to 90 percent at 10 years,” Hahn said. “We want to catch lung cancer and cure it. That’s the goal.”
Tuality Healthcare’s program will be open to the public beginning June 6. Cost for the first 100 people who participate will be $99. After that, the program will cost $299. The program consists of the low-dose CT scan, consultation with a pulmonologist to review the results, and a visit with a nicotine dependence counselor. The entire program will take less than 4 hours to complete. Funding for the Lung Cancer Screening Program and much of the necessary equipment was supplied by the Tuality Healthcare Foundation.
Lung cancer screening using low dose CT has been officially endorsed by the American Cancer Society, American College of Chest Physicians, and many other national cancer and lung organizations.
A CT scan is medical imaging procedure that generates a three-dimensional image that is a better diagnostic tool for doctors than the traditional chest X-ray. A low-dose CT scan reduces the amount of radiation delivered to the human body. Tuality features a new state-of-the-art 128-slice CT scanner with low-dose capability.
A state of the art technology called Electromagnetic Navigational Bronchoscopy (EMN) will also be used to help clarify whether suspicious nodules detected on the CT are malignant or not. Often called “GPS for the lung”, EMN allows lung doctors access to the far reaches of the lung to safely biopsy suspicious lesions.
“This program fits in with our mission at Tuality – to offer state-of-the-art care in a safe, efficient manner,” Hahn said. “We hope that by offering this, other area programs will follow suit very shortly.”
Tuality’s lung cancer screening program is open to anyone 55 to 74 years of age who have smoked for at least 30 years. Current smokers as well as those who quit in the last 15 years are eligible.
To make an appointment, or to ask questions about the program, call 503-681-4139.
To view a video of Dr. Hahn discussing the Lung Cancer Screening Program, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L71qKhgZUrQ