Section: Monmouth Medical Center News

Monmouth Medical Center First in Region to Become ACR Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center Program


Monmouth Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, is the first hospital in Monmouth and Ocean counties to become an American College of Radiology-designated Lung Cancer Screening Center.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) launched the Lung Cancer Screening Designation program last May to recognize facilities committed to providing quality screening care for patients at the highest risk for lung cancer. Facilities applying for this designation must have an active ACR CT accreditation in the chest module and meet specific equipment, personnel and imaging protocol requirements.

Lung cancer screening with the use of low-dose computed tomography (CT), along with appropriate follow-up care, significantly reduces lung cancer deaths and is cost effective compared to other major cancer screening programs. According to Ella Kazerooni, M.D., chair of the ACR Committee on Lung Cancer Screening: "Lung cancer screening in patients at high risk of acquiring the disease is the most effective ways to identify tumors and reduce lung cancer deaths."

Since the Leon Hess Cancer Center at Monmouth Medical Center launched the Lung Cancer Screening Center Program, a number of local residents have taken advantage, including brother and sister – Mark Retacco, 52, of Toms River and Monique Ritacco, 46, of Neptune City. After their mother died from lung cancer this past fall at age 76, and their aunt died a year prior from lung cancer as well, Mark and Monique, former smokers themselves, jumped at the opportunity to get screened. Mark, an artist, recalls how he had asked his mom to stop smoking since he was a teenager but knew she would eventually die from her addiction. Initially, he felt uneasy getting screened because of the smoking history and his mother's passing, but found the whole process to be excellent.

"Monmouth Medical Center's staff was kind and caring throughout the screening," he said. Fortunately, results showed his lungs were clear but identified a cyst on his liver. "I felt fantastic knowing my lungs are healthy – especially since I was around a smoker all my life, then a smoker myself."

Monique's results were clear as well, however, a very small spot on her lung was identified, requiring a follow-up with her doctor next year as a precaution. "I highly recommend getting screened because if there's something serious going on, you'll have the opportunity to catch it and do something about it. Now, thanks to this screening, I'm aware of the spot on my lung and can make sure it's monitored. "

Monmouth Medical Center's Lung Cancer Screening Program offers two lung cancer screening research studies. Individuals who meet specific criteria may be eligible to participate and receive a low-dose CT lung scan, at no cost to the participant.

For nearly 50 years, Monmouth Medical Center has broadened its leadership role in oncology services through the ongoing expansion of state-of-the-art programs and technologies offered in many areas of cancer prevention, detection, treatment and ongoing after-care. Today, Monmouth Medical Center's Leon Hess Cancer Center is a part of The Penn Cancer Network — a select group of community hospitals in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware — collaborating with the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania to provide excellence in patient care throughout the region. Penn's Cancer Network hospitals are recognized for their excellence in patient care and commitment to improving the health and well-being of their community.

For more information about Monmouth Medical Center's Lung Cancer Program or to find out if you are a candidate, visit or call 732-923-7966.

PHOTO CAPTION: Monmouth Medical Center is the first hospital in Monmouth and Ocean counties to become an American College of Radiology-designated Lung Cancer Screening Center. Monique Ritacco, of Neptune City, and her brother Mark Retacco, an artist from Toms River, recently participated in the screening after their mother died from lung cancer.

About Monmouth Medical Center
Located in Long Branch, N.J., Monmouth Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, along with The Unterberg Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, is one of New Jersey's largest teaching hospitals and has been an affiliate of Philadelphia's Drexel University College of Medicine for more than 40 years. From its earliest days, Monmouth Medical Center has been a leader in surgical advancement and has introduced many technological firsts to the region, including robotic surgery and other minimally invasive techniques. The hospital is routinely recognized by HealthGrades, the nation's largest premier independent health care quality company, for excellence in both emergency medicine and maternity care. U.S. News & World Reporthas recognized Monmouth as a regional leader in cancer, geriatrics, gynecology, neurology and neurosurgery. For more information on Monmouth Medical Center, visit

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