Saddleback Memorial Launches Lung Cancer Screening Program with Goal of Improving Life Expectancy Through Early Detection

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Cornerstone of the Comprehensive Program is a Multidisciplinary Team and the Latest Tools in Imaging Technology and Treatment

Continuing its commitment to be at the forefront of advanced medical technology, the MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Saddleback Memorial has launched a new lung cancer screening program. Lung cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death in our area, but if identified early, the outcome can be positive. This new program targets high-risk individuals and takes a collaborative approach to the detection and treatment of the disease.

The technology at the center of the new program, a low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) scanner, has the potential to detect 85 percent more cases of lung cancer at stage one or two. Currently, more than 60 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at stage three of four, which limits treatment options and reduces life expectancy.

“We are committed to increasing our early-detection rates of lung cancer,” says Richard Wasley, M.D., an expert in low-dose imaging. “With a dosage comparable to a standard mammogram, our low-dose CT scanner uses X-rays and complex computers to create cross-sectional images that enable clinicians to detect abnormalities much earlier.”

As part of the new program, individuals newly diagnosed with lung cancer have access to a comprehensive team of clinicians dedicated to their care. Each patient’s team includes a radiologist, pulmonologist, thoracic (chest) surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist and pathologist. In addition, a cancer nurse navigator works with all members of the team, including the primary care physician, to coordinate care and guide the patient from diagnosis through to survivorship.

“Our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to delivering the best possible patient outcomes,” says thoracic surgeon Shigeru Chino, M.D. “Our proactive, collaborative approach ensures there are no gaps or delays in the treatment process, and allows us to provide better care for our patients.”

Individuals who think they might be at high risk are encouraged to get the low-dose CT screening. High risk individuals include those over the age of 50 who have a long history of smoking. An online assessment to determine risk level is available at Lung Cancer Risk Assessment.

To raise awareness about the importance of prevention, detection and treatment, Saddleback Memorial is hosting a community event, “Get Smart about Lung Cancer,” on Wednesday, November 28, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. The event features discussions with experts and complimentary activities to promote lung health.