Our Lung Cancer Screening Program Is Saving More Lives
November is officially Lung Cancer Awareness Month. This all started as Lung Cancer Awareness Day back in 1995. As the lung cancer community and the lung cancer movement grew, the awareness activities increased and grew into Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Each year, about 218,000 people in the United States are told they have lung cancer, and about 149,000 people die from this disease.
The good news is that lung cancer found in its earliest stage has a cure rate as high as 90%.
We encourage those who are between the ages of 50 and 80 and who smoke and/or are former smokers to learn if they qualify for this screening.
The most important risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, which results in the majority of all lung cancer cases in the United States. At the same time, 10% to 15% and growing of lung cancer patients have never smoked.
Lung cancer risk can be lowered in several ways:
- Don’t smoke. Nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking cigarettes. A recent study suggests vaping may cause lung cancer, as well.
- Be aware of secondhand smoke. Smoke from other people’s cigarettes, pipes, or cigars causes lung cancer in adults who have never smoked; it increases their risk of getting lung cancer by 20% to 30%.
- Get your home tested for radon. It’s a gas you can’t smell, taste, or see that comes naturally from rocks and soil, and it’s thought to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year.
- Get screened. Screening for lung cancer involves a painless diagnostic test using a low-dose computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan to visualize abnormalities in the lungs.
Since its inception in 2000, our LCEC has evaluated many thousands of patients with chest abnormalities. Until we started our screening program in 2013, the diagnosis of lung cancer was made when patients came to us with symptoms or through incidental findings on chest x-rays or CT scans done for other reasons.
Our screening program has helped us to save more lives. If there’s a positive finding of the CT scan, we then design a comprehensive treatment plan for the patient's individual needs, providing optimal care.
A study published last year demonstrates that at Stony Brook Medicine we save more lives of patients with lung cancer by using our multidisciplinary approach to care (read more).
The Stony Brook Lung Cancer Evaluation Center provides a multidisciplinary team, including a patient navigator, thoracic surgeon, interventional pulmonologist, oncologist, radiation oncologist, chest radiologist, nurse practitioners, and support staff — all specializing in lung cancer. The center prides itself in prompt diagnosis and treatment, as well as psychological support.
Those who qualify for lung cancer screening can make an appointment by calling 631-638-7000