Lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers—when it’s identified
too late. But new surgical and oncological approaches have made early-stage
lung cancer much more treatable and, in many cases, curable.
To find these cancers early and get patients the care they need, the Lung
Cancer Institute at Saint Barnabas Medical Center has joined the International
Early Lung Cancer Action Program to offer a free, potentially lifesaving
test to identify lung cancer in qualified patients. The program includes
a low-dose computed tomography (CT ) screening for individuals who are
at high risk for developing lung cancer.
More than 1,000 patients have been screened and about 20 cancers diagnosed
since the program’s inception in 2013, reports Bridget Saggese,
R.N., the patient navigator. “Most cancers were early-stage and
curable,” she says. Patients identified as having cancer are treated
by a multidisciplinary team, which consists of dedicated medical and radiation
oncologists, pulmonologists, interventional radiologists and a thoracic
surgeon. “We are dedicated to providing quality care and achieving
the highest level of patient satisfaction,” Saggese says.
To be eligible, participants must be current or former smokers between
ages 55 and 74 with a history of 30 pack-years or more. (A pack-year is
the number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years of
smoking. For example, 1 pack a day for 30 years equals 30 pack-years.)
Also eligible are those ages 50 and older who have a 20 pack-year smoking
history and also one of these:
- exposure to radon, asbestos, silica, diesel fumes, chromium or nickel;
- a personal history of prior lymphoma or smoking-related malignancies such
as head and neck cancer, bladder cancer or esophageal cancer;
- a family history of lung cancer, or
- a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD ) or pulmonary fibrosis.
All participants receive a baseline CT scan and one follow-up scan annually
for two years. A referral from a primary care physician or specialist
is required, though anyone interested can call Saggese first for prescreening.
You can also go to the Saint Barnabas website and fill out a questionnaire,
which will alert her to follow up.
For more information and to find the questionnaire, go to
barnabashealth.org/sbmclung. Or call Bridget Saggese at 973.322.6644