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The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset recently formed a multidisciplinary team focused on improving outcomes for lung cancer patients. The team brings together pulmonologists, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, nurses and staff from the medical center's Tobacco Quitcenter.
The goals of the team include:
- Increasing the number of lung cancers diagnosed at an early stage
- Reducing the time between a lung cancer diagnosis and the start of treatment
- Encouraging more patients to participate in lung cancer research studies offered at the cancer center
In this difficult time of your life, the health care system can be confusing. Our Patient Navigator can help by providing support and guidance to cancer patients and their families.
Lung Cancer Screening Center
To promote early detection of lung cancer, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has launched a Lung Cancer Screening Center for those at high risk of the disease.
If you are a smoker or former smoker over 55 years old with 30 or more pack years (number of cigarettes smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked), talk to your doctor about getting a CT screening for lung cancer.
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s Lung Cancer Screening includes:
- Low-dose CT scan
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s state-of-the-art GE VCT-XT scanner features advanced computer software that produces high quality images while reducing radiation dosage. A specially-designed breast shield also minimizes exposure to radiosensitive breast tissue. Our radiologists customize each CT scan to each patient, following low dose radiation protocols to reduce radiation exposure by as much as 80 percent.
- During the chest scan, patients must hold their breath for 5 seconds. A computer creates 3-D images of small sections of the lung that offer excellent detail and enable the detection of very tiny lung lesions that are often smaller than 1 centimeter. Radiologists who specialize in evaluating lung CT scans review the results.
- Spirometry testing to measure the flow and volume of air entering and leaving the lungs
- A follow-up consultation at The Steeplechase Cancer Center
- Consultation with a smoking cessation specialist from the medical center’s Tobacco Quitcenter
The screening is not covered by medical insurance. Because Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset recognizes the importance of early detection in ensuring the best outcomes for lung cancer patients, it is subsidizing the cost of the screening for high-risk individuals.
For more information about lung cancer screenings at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, call (908) 927-8778.
Types of Lung Cancer
There are 2 main types of lung cancer - small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) - and they are treated differently. If the cancer has features of both types, it is called mixed small cell/large cell cancer.
About 8 to 9 out of 10 cases of all lung cancers are the non-small cell type. There are 3 sub-types of NSCLC. The cells in these sub-types differ in size, shape, and chemical make-up.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: About 25% to 30% of all lung cancers are this kind. They are linked to smoking and tend to be found in the middle of the lungs, near a bronchus.
- Adenocarcinoma: This type accounts for about 40% of lung cancers. It is usually found in the outer part of the lung.
- Large-cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma: About 10% to 15% of lung cancers are this type. It can start in any part of the lung. It tends to grow and spread quickly, which makes it harder to treat.
Along with the 2 main types of lung cancer, other tumors can be found in the lungs, too. Some of these are not cancer and others are cancer. Carcinoid tumors, for instance, are slow-growing and usually cured by surgery.
Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. More people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Lung cancer is rare in people under the age of 45.
There will be about 215,020 new cases of lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) in the United States this year: 114,690 in men and 100,330 in women. About 161,840 people will die of this disease this year: 90,810 men and 71,030 women.
The average lifetime chance that a man will develop lung cancer is about 1 in 13. For a woman it is 1 in 16. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers. For smokers the risk is much higher, while for non-smokers the risk is lower.
Source: American Cancer Society