x-ray look at lungs

The Lung Cancer Screening Program at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health uses low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scanning to find disease before symptoms begin.

The goal of lung cancer screening is to detect disease at its earliest and most treatable stage. LDCT technology – which is more detailed than chest X-rays – produces multiple, cross-sectional images of the lungs, using less radiation than a standard CT scan.

An All-Too Common Disease

In the U.S., more than 200,000 cases of lung cancer are diagnosed each year. "Lung cancer is especially lethal, killing more than 142,000 Americans annually — more than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined — and in the majority of cases, within five years of diagnosis," says Greg Oliver, MD, medical director of Shore Medical Group – Pulmonary Care.

Our pulmonary specialists David G. Oliver, MD, Anna Ahn, MD, Fernando C. DeLeon, MD, and Andrew Vranic, MD provide information about lung cancer awareness, early diagnosis and available treatment.

Is Smoking The Main Cause of Lung Cancer?

Smoking is believed to be the cause of approximately 80 percent of all lung cancer deaths. Even low-tar or light cigarettes, cigars and pipes are strong risk factors for lung cancer. Other causes include genetics (family predisposition) and environmental factors, such as poor air quality and exposure to radon.

"While smokers and former smokers have a higher risk of the disease, up to 15 percent of those diagnosed smoked very little or not at all," says Dr. Oliver.

What Is The Best Way to Treat Lung Cancer?

Early diagnosis offers the best chance for survival. Unfortunately, well over half of all lung cancer cases aren't diagnosed until they have advanced to an incurable stage.

"There are new and targeted treatments, including immunotherapy, that are improving survival rates," says Dr. Oliver. "However, early diagnosis through low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for those at high risk is making the biggest difference, decreasing the likelihood of dying from the disease by as much as 20 percent."

How Do You Know if You Should Be Screened For Lung Cancer?

If you are between the ages of 55 and 77 with a present or past history of smoking (the equivalent of a pack a day for more than 30 years), you should talk with your primary care provider to see if a referral for LDCT screening is appropriate for you.

Criteria

  • Must be between the ages of 55-77
  • Smokers or past smokers, who quit within the past 15 years
  • Smoking history equivalent to a pack per day for 30 years
  • No signs or symptoms of lung cancer
  • Medically able to tolerate treatment for early-stage lung cancer if indicated

Benefits of the Screening Program

  • Program is overseen by a board-certified pulmonologist and a certified registered nurse practitioner
  • Patients referred to the program are screened for eligibility
  • Shared decision making education
  • Referral for smoking cessation
  • LDCT screening results sent to primary care provider
  • Follow-up is in accordance with the American College of Radiology's Lung-RADS-Assessment categories
  • Timely referrals to pulmonology and surgical specialists

For eligible patients, LDCT scanning is covered by Medicare and most private insurance companies. Patients are advised to check with their insurance providers to determine coverage.

For Health Professionals

  • Referrals can be made by primary care providers via phone or fax
  • Upon receipt of referral, patient will be called to schedule screening appointment

Hours

  • Monday – Thursday: 8:30 am–4 pm
  • Friday: 8:30 am–3 pm

Contact

Screening Center of Excellence