Lung cancer remains the #1 cancer killer of both men and women in the United States. Nearly 225,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. Almost 143,000 will die from lung cancer this year -- more than a quarter of all cancer deaths in the U.S. More women will die from lung cancer than from breast cancer.
“Lung cancer can be very aggressive,” said Federico Cerrone, MD, medical director, Atlantic Health System Lung Cancer Screening Program. “Generally, the earlier we catch lung cancer, the more likely we will be able to cure it. The technology we use in our screening program is more effective at detecting lung cancer than older imaging modalities.”
The Atlantic Health System lung cancer test uses low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) that only takes a few minutes to complete and may identify lung cancer at earlier, more curable stages. When compared to chest X-rays used in early detection, the LDCT screening reduces lung cancer deaths in high-risk individuals by 20 percent. The screening test is covered by Medicare and most commercial insurance (a written referral is required).
“The beauty of low-dose lung screening is that it’s simple and effective,” said Dr. Cerrone. Atlantic Health System conducts more than 150 screenings per month and approximately 2% of screenings show early findings of lung cancer, similar to LDCT screening results nationwide.
The exam takes less than 10 minutes once the person is inside the CT scanner and Atlantic Health System offers convenient scheduling at all locations. Who qualifies for the screening program >
All screening participants receive a letter explaining their results and recommended follow up care, and their health care providers receive a formal interpretation from a board-certified radiologist.
A Lung Screening Nurse Navigator is available to answer questions about screening results, and can also provide referrals to pulmonologists.
Other Atlantic Health System lung health programs include:
- Community Quit Smoking Program – Led by certified tobacco treatment specialists
- Better Breathers Club – Support group and educational program
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation – Run by respiratory therapists, this program helps individuals with breathing difficulties increase their strength and stamina and improve quality of life.
Lung Cancer Screening Qualifications
Qualifications to participate in our lung cancer screening program include those who:
- are between the ages of 50 and 77
- are current smokers or have quit within the last 15 years
- have a minimum a 20-pack year or greater history of cigarette smoking (packs years = packs per day/years smoking)
- are asymptomatic (no signs and symptoms of lung cancer)
- have received an order for lung cancer screening with LDCT
Lung Cancer Screening Results
- All participants will receive a letter explaining the results and interpretation of the LDCT and recommendations for follow-up care, if needed.
- Referring physicians will receive a formal interpretation.
- Creating a MyChart account will provide the quickest access to view results. Create a MyChart account >
- All participants will be entered into Atlantic Health System’s lung screening database, so they can receive annual reminders for follow-up care and notifications of events and programs offered by us.
Lung Cancer Screening Appointments
A prescription or order from your physician is required for the LDCT. We offer multiple screening locations for your convenience. Please contact your primary care provider to see if you qualify.
*Patients should call their insurance company first to verify coverage.
Moments That Matter: Gregory's Story
Gregory E. smoked cigarettes for four decades, which is why - three years ago - at the recommendation of his pulmonologist, Federico Cerrone, MD, he became one of the first patients to take part in Atlantic Health System Lung Cancer Screening Program for people at high risk for developing lung cancer.
“Lung cancer can be cured when it’s caught early. Annual screenings save lives,” said Dr. Cerrone, the program’s medical director. Screening is crucial because “most people with lung cancer aren’t symptomatic until it has spread.”